Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Meanwhile, Back in the Tiger's Cage ...

In Missouri on Sunday, a volunteer at an animal park in Missouri was cleaning out a tiger's cage when the occupant apparently leaped over an eight or ten foot tall fence and chomped on the guy's leg.

Guess he didn't want the guy moving his stuff around.

Must have been something to see, an eight-hundred-pound tiger making a jump like that, though I confess, I would want to see it from a distance and behind a much, much taller fence. Inside a tank. With a working machine gun.

The worker will apparently recover.

That's scary, but you could reason that a fence taller than your ceiling might seem to be enough. I wouldn't think that, having heard and read tiger stories for years, but then again, I wouldn't be cleaning a tiger's cage unless the tiger was dead and long-since buried. And not for all the tea in China if it was alive and watching me do it on the other size of a fence that didn't go to the roof. Tigers are territorial.

There was some misdirection in this instance by the owners, who first claimed it was a pit bull that attacked the guy. They apparently killed the cat, hid the cat's body, cleaned the place up, and lied about it, and only admitted the truth later. (I image the doctor treating the wound would have wondered what kind of pit bull had a bite equal to that of an eight-hundred-pound tiger, at the very least. Pit bull?! Where the fuck was this pit bull? Guarding the entrance to Hades?)

The next day, that would be yesterday, in the same state, down the road a piece, in another animal park, this one called The Interactive Zoo and Aquarium -- formerly (and more accurately) called Predator World, in Branson, a sixteen-year-old worker was mauled by three tigers.

More interactive than I find comfortable. (Wild animal parks are apparently not that tightly regulated in some states, Missouri among them. Something you want to keep in mind while you are visiting one.)

The kid may not make it in the second incident. In the end, this is not funny, it's tragic, but it is also food for thought.

Several questions come up regarding this incident. First one that pops into my head is, Didn't the second kid hear about the attack the day before? It would seem to be fairly evident on the local news, and if you worked around big cats, you'd think it would, you know, get your attention. And maybe even offer some kind of cautionary warning ... ?

Hey, guy down Warrenton got bit up by one of their tigers, you hear that?

Yeah, well, that's Warrenton. Our cats wouldn't do that.

If you read about the incident here, a much larger question blows the first one out of the water. According to reports, the kid went into the cage with the tigers, to take pictures of them for a customer.

Excuse me, did I hear that right? He went into a cage with three tigers to take a picture?

Yep. Walked right in for the close-up photo-op.

I cannot for the life of me come up with a phrase that describes that better than "Suicidally stupid."

Teach your children: Do not go into the cage with a tiger. Especially do not go into the cage with three tigers.


Worg said...

This is why you don't fuck with harimau.

I was at the zoo a few years ago, at the lion pit. The rim of the pit is maybe 30 feet up, and has a handrail around it. A little girl nearby, maybe 5 or 6, was leaning up on the handrail with both hands, in such a way that her body was tending toward horizontal. I yelled at her to get down.

Then her mother, and the woman I was with, started yelling at ME for being "controlling."

You just can't win.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

Well, given that there was a cover-up in the first incident, maybe the true story hadn't hit the news in time for the kid in the second incident to see it.

On the other hand.

If he was dumb enough to voluntarily go into a cage with three (3) unrestrained tigers, maybe it wouldn't have mattered if he heard about the first incident or not.

Anonymous said...

Does the article say if they'll put down the three tigers that mauled the kid?

If they do, 4 will be suffering for the stupidity of 1.



Steve Perry said...

The piece doesn't say, but they always do put them down after a bad mauling, and surely if the kid dies they will.

That is a shame, too.

Steve Perry said...

One of my favorite single-panel cartoons was by, I think, Michael ffolks, probably in Playboy in the 70's, though it might have been in Psychology Today or The New Yorker. The toon shows characters like Tarzan and Jane sitting in a treehouse, Halfway up the trunk of the tree is a large, grinning crocodile, and the Tarzan character is saying, "They're not supposed to be able to do that ..."

Any time one is dealing with an animal that isn't thoroughly domesticated, and even then, what they are supposed to be able to do and what they can do isn't always a match.

I once saw my kitty cat leap off the floor of a shower and come scrabbling over the top of the glass stall six and a half feet high because she did not want to take a bath.

When offered an opportunity once to pose for a photograph with a young tiger that was bigger than I inside a chain link fence, I declined. Oh he's tame, they said.

There was an SF fan sitting in the front row eating a burger, and I was watching the cat watch him.

No, thank you. There's a reason the hair on your neck goes up when you see a big cat flash his fangs. Going into an enclosed space with one voluntarily is not going to be likely in my case. I can think of better ways to die.

Dan Moran said...

Sure, there are better ways to die. But if you end up being squished by a load of pumpkins and people laugh at your funeral, you'll probably wish then you'd gotten the tigers.

I must know a dozen guys that's happened to.

J.D. Ray said...

Darwin was right. I'm just sayin'...

Dan: You know an odd collection of people.

Ed said...

Food for thought - thought for food -- try not to be food!

Anonymous said...

When photographing tigers, a telephoto lens is just the thing.

J.D. Ray said...

Elsewhere in the news(paper) for August 5, 2008:
The Wizard of Id