Mistake Leads to Mauling at Carole Baskin's Rescue

Male tiger attacked volunteer as she reached into cage
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2020 7:09 AM CST
Tiger Nearly Rips Off Woman's Arm at Carole Baskin's Rescue
Volunteer Candy Couser smiles before feeding big cats at Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary near Tampa, Fla., in 2018.   (Big Cat Rescue via AP)

A tiger nearly ripped off a volunteer's arm Thursday at Carole Baskin's Big Cat Rescue, made famous by Netflix's Tiger King. Candy Crouser had arrived to feed the male tiger, Kimba, around 8:30am when she noticed he was "locked in a section that was away from where he was usually fed," according to a statement, per the BBC. The 69-year-old Crouser—who has volunteered at the Tampa, Fla., rescue for five years—"said she just wasn't thinking when she reached in to un-clip [the gate]" against protocol. Kimba, who was rescued from a circus in Guatemala, "grabbed her arm and nearly tore it off at the shoulder," the statement continued. The sanctuary said bystanders used a belt as a tourniquet and "packed her arm in ice packs to try and save it" before an ambulance arrived. Crouser's arm was found to be broken in three places.

The rescue said Crouser was visited by Florida Wildlife officers in the hospital, where she is to undergo surgery. The rescue said she had "insisted that she did not want Kimba Tiger to come to any harm for this mistake." It added Kimba, who has been placed in quarantine for 30 days, was "just acting normal due to the presence of food and the opportunity." Later Thursday, the House passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, a bill that would ban private big cat ownership and the handling of young cubs and was backed by Baskin, per BuzzFeed. The rescue said Thursday's incident "confirms the inherent danger in dealing with these animals and why we need the Big Cat Public Safety Act to eliminate having them untracked in backyards around the country and ending up in sanctuaries." (Authorities are again probing the 1997 disappearance of Baskin's husband.)

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