A woman who worked at an Oklahoma wild animal zoo did what you are not supposed to yesterday: She stuck her arm into the cage of a male tiger. To make matters worse, she was wearing a down feather coat which allowed to beast to hold on even tighter as it ripped and bit at her arm.
According to the zoo: "She was wearing a large goose down jacket that got bunched up inside the cage wire, not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough. The tiger grabbed her hand, pulling her left arm through a 4 inch square hole."
That "4 inch" part especially is a tough visual, because I can't imagine most arms fitting into a hole that size ... but there is good news today!
The reports yesterday that the tiger "ripped off the woman's arm" were not true, according to Joe (who presumably runs the place) at the zoo. The Garold Wayne Interactive Exotic Animal Park has been posting regular updates to their Facebook page to try to clarify "all kinds of lies on the internet with stories that are so far fetched you don't know what to believe."
I just spoke to the member of our park on the phone. She (we are still not releasing her name as the family has not been contacted yet) is out of surgery, awake, and talking on the phone. Her comment is I still have my arm. Thank God she is in better spirits than Joe is right now her health and keeping this tiger alive is all that is on his mind right now. Once again thank you for your prayers.
Yesterday, shortly after the accident, the zoo was taking heat for it's decision not to kill the tiger. They said it was the woman's mistake and the tiger did not act uncharacteristically violent -- that's what big cats do! But the zoo's statement this morning makes me wonder whether there's pressure to change that decision.
This latest news makes saving the cat's life more palatable, at any rate. The zoo insists that the tiger never ripped her arm off.
OU Medical Center surgeons did a great job of saving her arm and the tissue to repair her arm. The protocols at the zoo and the quick response of the zoo medical staff and EMS is what made this whole incident turn out better than what it could have. Some other facilities are already bashing us to gain self profit from such a horrible accident but rest assured we have one of the safest parks around and care about our staff and animals.
The woman was reportedly awake during the entire incident and kept saying it was her fault. She plans to return to work.
Do you agree with the zoo's decision to keep the tiger alive?
Image via Cheetah100