Tiger Attack! Oregon – 83

While we were living in Northern California we took a short vacation up into Oregon. Part of that trip included a stop at Coos Bay, Oregon so my wife could visit with an old friend who had moved there. This story is really about that friend’s son, who accompanied us on our trip to a local petting zoo.

It was a pretty cool place with lots of animals for kids, and BIG kids, to touch and feel. I, myself, had a rather interesting conversation with a billy goat. Seems I had inadvertently taken HIS spot. After several attempts to just move me, we finally talked it out. (that’s ME on the right)

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They happened to have a relatively new litter of Tiger Cubs, which they made available for “petting”. They would only allow 2 kids at a time into the Tiger area. The caretaker had them sit on a bench, calmly and quietly, and then he would bring over one of the cubs for them to hold. That is my oldest son on the left, our friend’s son on the right.
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That is my oldest daughter.
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They would also allow you to go over and pet the Momma Tiger. That’s my daughter petting the momma, the caretaker in the middle at the end of that chain, and our friend’s son on the right. My daughter had her turn and then our friend’s son went next. Everything was going just fine, until the boy tried to leave.
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Suddenly, the tiger reached out and grabbed the boy’s foot in her paws! She clamped her teeth down on his calf! Not hard, just hard enough that he wasn’t going anywhere! The caretaker tried to remain calm, “Clear the Pen! Everyone out. Now. Nice and easy.” I got my daughter out, but then went back to the tiger. The caretaker said to get out. I said, “I can’t! I’m responsible for that kid. You deal with the tiger and I’ll be here to take care of the kid”.

Well, I DID have to take ONE more picture first, and THEN handed my camera out to my wife.
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You’ll note the caretaker is holding that chain a LOT closer now. The tiger was licking the boy’s calf at this point, still holding him with her paws. I think the boy held up pretty well all things considered. As the caretaker worked with the tiger, she eventually loosened her grip on the boy. He still could NOT move in case it would make her clamp down on him again. When the caretaker got her to look away, I quietly and quickly snatched up the boy and got out of there.

In talking to the caretaker and park officials afterwards, the only thing we could come up with was that the boy’s family had over a dozen cats at their house. We can only suspect that the smell of multiple cats on him caused her to want to investigate the smells. She never did make a move to hurt him, only to restrain him. No harm – No foul

Assuming he doesn’t still have nightmares about it. hehehehe

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