A tiger ripped up the left arm of a worker at a central Oklahoma animal park after the woman stuck her hand into the giant cat's enclosure today. Joe Schreibvogel, owner of Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, said the woman was in surgery this afternoon at an Oklahoma City hospital where doctors were trying to save her arm. "He tore her arm up pretty bad," Schreibvogel says. "Her entire arm was still attached. It was badly, badly damaged." Co-workers quickly tended to the woman before she was airlifted to the hospital.
Schreibvogel says the park has a strict rule against introducing any body part into a wild animal enclosure. "She's actually the supervisor of the cats. But when you work with these things every day, you tend to let your guard down and think they're pets, that they're like dogs. They're not—they're tigers," he says. Schreibvogel says the tiger, a mixed breed that he rescued, is about 14 years old and weighs over 400 pounds. Schreibvogel says the woman won't lose her job, and the tiger won't be put down. "She will probably be one of the best leaders now to help make sure safety protocols are followed," he says. (Read more Oklahoma stories.)