Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Trainer almost mauled by White Bengal tiger while playing!

A wildlife park worker had a lucky escape after slipping during a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a giant Bengal white tiger.

A crowd of onlookers held their breath as the park worker narrowly escaped a mauling after falling over while running from the fearsome beast.

The dramatic scene was captured during a daily 'tiger splash' event at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park, in Arizona, U.S.

Park worker Jeff Harwell participates as the prey during a daily routine with the cats, where they chase an inflatable toy being held by him.

The tigers are usually so excited about capturing and popping the toy they do not harm the park workers.

The workers then jump into a pool with the tiger at the end of the game.

But this time Mr Harwell slipped over on the wet grass - and found himself between the two-year-old white tiger called Chalet and his inflatable toy.

Thinking quickly, Mr Harwell managed to throw the toy into the pool, distracting the young tiger.

Chalet leapt in to the pool after the toy, as Mr Harwell scrambled to his feet.
Gasps of horror were heard from the audience.

But Mr Harwell - who was unharmed in the incident - continued to play with the tigers.

The tigers who are not being trained to perform tricks at the park but are playing these games to tap into their natural instincts.

Wildlife photographer Kathleen Reeder, who took the pictures said: 'It's an unbelievable event to watch and even more unbelievable when situations like this occur.

'The reaction of the crowd was nothing less than jaw dropping.

'We could tell Jeff's fall was unexpected and that he could easily be injured if he didn't react instantaneously.

'The other park workers were ready to jump in to help and watched intently while he reacted swiftly.

'Without missing a step, Jeff successfully diverted the tiger's attention, and the show went on as though this is all part of the event.

'The tigers are treated with a lot of loving care, so the workers are more like friends and the tigers have no reason to intentionally hurt them.

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