You would think that most people who work around exotic animals would behave very carefully around them and that even the average person, faced with the opportunity to sneak into a tiger’s cage, would think “no thanks.”
But over the past three months, two Florida men have demonstrated that they do not entertain such reservations.
In December, a third-party contractor assigned to clean the gift shop and restrooms at the Naples Zoo decided to enter an unauthorized area and put his arm into the tiger enclosure, suffering major damage to his arm when the tiger behaved like a tiger and tried to drag the man into his enclosure.
Sadly, the tiger was shot and killed by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputy trying to rescue the man, and it was the beast who paid the price for the man’s foolishness.
And something similar happened again, prompting the same sheriff’s office who dealt with the last incident to start their announcement with an acknowledgment of shock.
“We are having a hard time comprehending this happening again but want to share this breaking news with you,” the Collier County Sheriff’s Office began their Facebook post from Tuesday.
“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 at approximately 4:30 p.m.”
Once again, it was an unauthorized individual who took the opportunity to enter the tiger’s enclosure — this time, at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours, which also boasts an animal sanctuary.
In this case, a 50-year-old Florida man waltzed in while the animal’s caretaker was feeding it.
It’s no surprise that the tiger responded to the strange man’s presence as a wild animal would: He attacked the man and injured both his arms, and the man had to be taken to the hospital.
Unlike the previous incident, the tiger was not killed during the rescue, and the sheriff’s office admitted that the details they have are preliminary and could change as the whole story comes out.
The business had not released a formal statement as of Wednesday night, but someone on the reservation line told USA Today that the main office would probably provide one on Thursday.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.