Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bottle Raised Tiger Goes for Teenage Girl's Jugular

Bottle Raised Tiger Goes for Teenage Girl's Jugular

Bagera the tiger who injured a teenage girl at the Lion Park yesterday. Picture by MASI LOSI

A TEENAGE girl was attacked by a year-old male tiger which gripped her by the throat and punctured her jugular vein at the Lion Park just outside East London yesterday.

Bianca Rosser, 17, enjoying an outing with friends, was in the enclosure with Bagera the tiger at 11am when an up-close encounter turned into a fight for her life.

Apparently she tripped and when she fell to the ground Bagera took her by the throat.

The tiger punctured her jugular vein and only the prompt attention from a nursing sister and a foreign doctor visiting the park saved her life.

"It's lucky the tiger never pulled her throat out," said NetCare 911 paramedic Grant de Jongh who was called to the scene minutes after the bizarre incident.

De Jongh said the girl also had a gash on her right leg where the tiger gripped her, in addition to the two puncture wounds and bite marks on her neck.

She was stabilised at the scene and taken to St Dominic's Hospital where she underwent a two-hour operation to repair the damage to her throat.

Lion Park owner Wendy Johnson said it was an "unfortunate accident" and there were no plans to put down the tiger.

"Bagera was hand-reared and quite tame but he's still a wild animal," she said. "Accidents happen."

Johnson declined to comment further.