Tiger mauls sanctuary employee, 50, who was ‘not authorised to be in enclosure’

An employee at Wooten’s Airboats Animal Sanctuary has been hospitalised after being savagely attacked by a tiger in its enclosure.

The 50-year-old employee wasn't authorised to enter the enclosure during the animal's feeding time when the attack happened in the Everglades on March 22, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said.

Police attended the scene at around 4pm at which time the tiger was safely contained by its caretaker.

The sheriff’s office statement read: “We are having a hard time comprehending this happening against but want to share this breaking news with you.

“CCSO Deputies have responded to a tiger attack at Wooten’s Airboats located at 32300 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee in the Everglades area. This occurred approximately 30-45 minutes ago.

“Preliminary (very) info indicates a tiger in an enclosure at that location was being fed by its [sic] caretaker when a 50-year-old male, an employee of Wooten’s who was not authorised to be with the tiger, entered the tiger's enclosure.

“The tiger attacked the man and caused injuries to both arms. The man has been transported to a hospital by EMS.”

Reports say the animal has not been injured as a result of the attack.

However, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Melody Kilborn claims the incident is still under investigation.

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She added: "Preliminary findings indicate that an employee of the facility attempted to feed the tiger when he received severe injuries to his hands and arms."

Animal rights organisation PETA claim attacks like this "will happen again" so long as wild animals are used for entertainment.

Wooten's Airboats Animal Sanctuary have yet to release a statement on the incident.

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