Things aren’t going so well at Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Animal Rescue!
According to reports, one of the tigers at the Tampa-based facility snacked on a staffer’s hand, causing her to suffer a pretty bad injury. Hillsborough Fire Rescue said they received an emergency call around 8:30 am on Thursday at the Tiger King breakout star’s sanctuary for a woman who endured a serious bite to the hand and an arm injury.
Turns out, the victim was one of Carole’s longtime volunteers. Carole and Howard Baskin told TMZ that a woman named Candy Couser stuck her hand into Kimba (above, insert) the tiger’s enclosure to feed the animal — but instead of a meal, Kimba was apparently craving a mouthful of Candy.
The Baskins explained Kimba bit into Candy’s hand and started thrashing, nearly tearing off the woman’s arm at the shoulder in the process. Fortunately, Kimba let go of Candy when other staffers ran over to the scene. Three workers used a tourniquet to apply pressure to the wounds until EMTs arrived roughly 15 minutes later.
The paramedics performed treatment on the volunteer at the scene in an attempt to stabilize her, then transported her to a hospital. Thankfully, it sounds like Candy is expected to survive the violent encounter.
There doesn’t appear to be bad blood between Candy and Kimba either. The Baskins claimed that the victim was conscious during the ambulance ride and insisted that she didn’t want her assailant to be harmed — and it doesn’t sound like that will be the case. Carole and Howard told the outlet that Kimba was “just acting normal” because there was food present, and that Candy simply made a mistake while going to feed the giant feline.
Apparently, Kimba was locked in an enclosure that was away from where he was usually fed because cameras were being installed in his usual feeding area. At the time of the attack, the tiger was in the enclosure protected by two guillotine-style tunnel doors; Candy had opened the first, but the second was clipped shut by the time she got to it. They continued:
“This is our universal signal NOT to open a gate without the coordinator coming to assist, but Candy said she just wasn’t thinking when she reached in to un-clip it. It is against our protocols for anyone to stick any part of their body into a cage with a cat in it.”
A good protocol to have, if you ask us!
Candy has been a volunteer for five years at Big Cat Animal Rescue. While the Baskins say Kimba was acting normally, the tiger will be kept in quarantine for the following 30 days just to be safe.
Moral of the story: pay attention when you’re about to feed a tiger.
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