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Man attacked by tiger after entering enclosure at Florida animal sanctuary

2nd tiger attack in Collier County in 5 months
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Posted at 5:18 AM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 08:26:28-04

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Collier County Sheriff's Office said a 50-year-old man was injured after he entered a tiger's enclosure at an animal sanctuary on Tuesday afternoon.

"We are having a hard time comprehending this happening again," the sheriff's office said on Facebook. A similar incident occurred in December at a Naples zoo.

According to authorities, it happened at Wooten’s Airboats at 4:30 p.m. The man, an employee at the airboat tour and animal sanctuary business, entered the enclosure while the tiger was being fed by its caretaker.

The man, who did not have permission to enter the enclosure, suffered injuries to both of his arms, the sheriff's office said. He was taken to an area hospital by EMS.

The tiger was safely contained by its caretaker and was not injured, the sheriff's office said.

Details on the full extent of the man's injuries have not been released.

Authorities said the information is very preliminary and details could change as more information becomes available.

Wooten posted the following statement online following the incident.

"A Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours employee was injured today while feeding a tiger in the company’s animal sanctuary. He was transported to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers to receive medical attention.

Wooten’s staff worked with law enforcement to investigate the incident. The tiger’s caretaker, who has worked at Wooten’s for 25 years, said the employee was not authorized to enter the tiger’s enclosure or feed the tiger.

Wooten’s is licensed to care for tigers by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the US Department of Agriculture.

The tiger was not injured and remains in her enclosure.

All of us at Wooten’s offer our sincere sympathies to the employee and his family, and wish him a speedy recovery."