WYNNEWOOD (AP) — The owner of a central Oklahoma animal park said Sunday a tiger that mauled the arm of a worker has been moved from his enclosure and placed in quarantine.
Joe Schreibvogel, the owner of Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood, said the 400-pound tiger has never shown aggression before but was placed in a different area of the park reserved for more aggressive animals.
Schreibvogel said the tiger will remain in quarantine for 10 days while a veterinarian examines whether the animal is rabid. He said there are no plans to euthanize the tiger.
Schreibvogel declined to identify the injured female worker, who he said is in her early 20s, because she has been unable to notify members of her family about the incident.
The worker’s arm was injured Saturday when she stuck her hand into the big cat’s enclosure.
Schreibvogel said the park has a strict rule against introducing any body part into a wild animal enclosure.
Schreibvogel said she underwent surgery at an Oklahoma City hospital to save her arm and more surgery is planned Monday. He said the woman suffered “severe tissue and ligament damage, clear to the bone. The hospital saved her arm.”
Schreibvogel said he has talked to the woman and described her as “in good spirits.” He said she was walking around Sunday and has said she does not want the tiger to be euthanized.
“She is itching to return to work but she is going to have to have skin grafts,” he said.
Meanwhile, an animal rights group said it is asking the U.S Department of Agriculture to investigate the incident.
David W. Perle, the senior media coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that the park has been cited previously for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and is the focus of ongoing investigations by the USDA, including the deaths of two tiger cubs in May.
“PETA is asking the USDA to investigate this newest incident and take swift and immediate appropriate action which we hope will mean finally stripping Schreibvogel of his license permanently,” the statement said.