NAPLES, Fla. (WFLA) – A member of a cleaning crew is being treated for injuries after being attacked by a tiger at the Naples Zoo in Florida Wednesday, December 28.
According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the man, who is in his 20s, entered an unauthorized area near a tiger inside its enclosure. The company the man works for is responsible for cleaning restrooms and the gift shop, not the animal enclosures.
The sheriff’s office says based on preliminary information, the man was either petting or feeding the big cat, “both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities.”
Per initial reports, the tiger grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it into the enclosure. According to the sheriff’s office, the man had already crossed an initial fence barrier and put his arm through the enclosure’s fencing.
When the first deputy arrived on the scene, they kicked the enclosure and tried to get the tiger to release the man’s arm. When that didn’t work, the sheriff’s office says the deputy shot the animal.
The man was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital as a trauma alert.
The status of the 4-year-old male Malayan tiger is unclear. Deputies say it retreated to the back of the enclosure after being shot. A veterinarian has sedated the animal and will examine it when it is safe to do so, according to the sheriff’s office.