Friday, January 01, 1993

1993-1994 Big Cat Attacks

Financial Times (London)
November 14, 1994, Monday
Zookeeper killed by tiger

A keeper was killed by a tiger at Howletts Zoo, near Canterbury, which was founded by millionaire John Aspinall to promote the breeding of rare species. Two other keepers were killed at the zoo in 1980.

United Press International
June 6, 1994
Miami zookeeper killed in tiger attack

Officials with Miami's Metrozoo said human error probably led to the mauling and death of a zookeeper by a rare white tiger Monday.

Authorities said David Marshall, 44, was found badly injured in the exhibit area of the zoo's tiger enclosure. He was airlifted to a hospital emergency room but was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival. Marshall had more than 20 years experience as an animal handler. He served 10 years with the Louisville, Ky., zoo before coming to Metrozoo 11 years ago.

Ron Magill, assistant curator at the zoo, said the attack apparently occurred around 7:30 EDT Monday morning as Marshall was moving Lucknow, the zoo's largest of three white tigers, out of the exhibit prior to bringing two other cats in.

''I just can't understand what could have gone wrong,'' said Magill. ''He was a consummate pro, and the man I would have picked to have by my side if I was dealing with dangerous animals.''

Zoo officials said they did now know what prompted the attack.

Magill theorized that something went wrong with Marshall's routine, confusing him as to the big cat's whereabouts. He speculated the 350- pound tiger attacked Marshall in an attempt to defend its territory when the keeper ventured into the exhibit while the cat was still there.

''This was something that was in no way the cat's fault,'' Magill said. ''This cat will not have anything different done to it than would have been done yesterday.''

Other zoo workers began looking for Marshall after losing radio contact with him, and found his bloody body about a half-hour after the attack.

''At approximately 8 o'clock we located that person (Marshall) on the center of the tiger exhibit, mauled, obviously severely injured,'' said Magill.

The tiger was not near Marshall, but was down in the moat that surrounds the enclosure. Workers reported the animal made no attempt to interfere as they rushed in and removed Marshall from the exhibit.

Magill said although the tiger was not immediately captured after the attack, the animal was never outside the enclosure and was never a threat to other zoo workers.

He said the fact that Lucknow was confined to the enclosure showed the safety equipment was functioning properly, but that routines followed by workers might be changed to prevent future accidents.

''If anything, we may double up and form teams to ensure our people are doing things right,'' said Magill.

The tiger exhibit remained closed Monday. The zoo was not open to the public when the mauling occurred, but opened later in the day.

The Press Association Limited
February 16, 1993, Tuesday

A lion and his mate mauled a Cairo zookeeper to death today after he left the outer door to their cage open while feeding them. Other zookeepers shot the lions dead.

The Associated Press
July 26, 2002, Friday, BC cycle
Leopard claws zoo handler, banished from stage in favor of breeding

A rare leopard that has scratched two zoo handlers will probably be banished from the stage, officials say.

Raja, a 4-year-old male Southeast Asian clouded leopard, scratched both arms of Karen Povey, 39, of Gig Harbor, shortly after the animal show Thursday afternoon at Wild Wonders Theater in the city's Point Defiance Zoo. "They said he was fine one moment, then he kind of jumped up on her," said Carolyn Cox, a spokeswoman for the zoo.

The attack occurred during a behind-the-scenes tour and a small group of children was nearby, general curator Karen Goodrowe said.

Povey, a 19-year veteran of work with tigers, cheetahs, snow leopards, lynxes and other exotic cats, held firmly to Raja's leash and summoned help from two assistants who helped her get the 43-pound animal into a crate used to carry him between cage and stage.

Her wounds, described by Goodrowe as "quite minimal," were cleaned at St. Joseph Medical Center, after which she was given antibiotics to ward off infection and sent home.

Raja scratched another handler's leg 18 days ago, Cox said.

The long-tailed cat was hand-raised by Povey after he arrived in 1998 as a 5-week-old cub and became a popular feature at zoo shows and school programs. School visits ended 18 months ago as zoo officials grew concerned about the maturing animal.

The attack on Povey shows the clouded leopards an endangered species in Southeast Asia, is probably too unpredictable to be on a leash and in close contact with handlers, so he probably will be left in his cage with a female companion, Cox said.

"His role at the zoo will be to be a leopard and hopefully to make some babies," Cox said.