Man bitten by 450-lbs tiger near Los Angeles

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Yarmouth Port, MA
A man was critically injured in a tiger attack at an animal sanctuary northeast of Los Angeles. Chris Orr, a caretaker, was bitten in the neck by a 450-pound Bengal tiger and, according to news reports, remains in intensive care.

Orr was attacked as he cleaned the enclosure of a 4-year-old tiger named Alexander. The attack occurred at Shambala Preserve, which is run by the actress Tippi Hendren. The sanctuary has 65 cats, including lions, tigers, leopards and servals.
 
“This just goes to show that big cats are, were, and will always be wild animals,” said Josephine Martell of IFAW. “There are 15,000 thousand big cats just like this one in captivity all over the United States. Orr was attacked as he cleaned the enclosure of a 4-year-old tiger named Alexander. The attack occurred at Shambala Preserve, which is run by the actress Tippi Hendren. The sanctuary has 65 cats, including lions, tigers, leopards and servals.
 
“This just goes to show that big cats are, were, and will always be wild animals,” said Josephine Martell of IFAW. “There are 15,000 thousand big cats just like this one in captivity all over the United States. You can never take the wild out of these animals, no matter what you do.”
 
The primary caretaker looked away for a moment “and it [the tiger] just jumped,” said Steve Martarano, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game. “He grabbed him [Orr] by the neck and then just kind of dragged him around the cage a little bit," Martarano said, according to the Associated Press.
 
“Who knows what happened to this tiger? It isn't the tiger's fault. It is the fault of the people breeding these animals in the first place that leads them to be here,” Hedren said.
 
Hedren starred in the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds and is the mother of actress Melanie Griffith. She has been a strong advocate on behalf of animals. Most of the cats at Shambala Preserve were born in captivity and many of them are cast-offs from circuses, zoos, and private owners who could no longer care for them. Some of the older animals were originally the stars of the movie Roar. None of them has ever been in the wild.

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