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Florida man mauled by tiger at popular airboat attraction

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Photo by JOSE JORDAN/STR/AFP via Getty Images

According to local authorities, a tiger mauled a Florida man at a popular airboat attraction on Tuesday.

Fox News reported that Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, whose deputies responded to the tiger attack, said on Facebook that he was “having a hard time comprehending” the attack.

He wrote, “We are having a hard time comprehending this happening again but want to share this breaking news with you.”

Sheriff Rambosk’s deputies responded to a tiger attack at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours in the Florida Everglades Tuesday afternoon.

“Preliminary (very) info indicates a tiger in an enclosure at [Wooten’s Airboats] was being fed by its caretaker when a 50-year-old male, an employee of Wooten’s who was not authorized to be with the tiger, entered the tiger’s enclosure,” the sheriff’s Facebook post explained. “The tiger attacked the man and caused injuries to both arms.”

“The man has been transported to the hospital by EMS,” it continued.

The big cat was not injured in the altercation, and its caretaker was able to safely contain it shortly after the incident.

The sheriff’s Facebook post said, “The tiger’s caretaker was able to safely contain the tiger. The tiger is not injured. We will update as we can.”

According to the company’s website, Wooten’s Airboats contains a small animal sanctuary that features two tigers, two lions, otters, turtles, a bask of crocodiles, and a congregation of alligators.

Fox News reported that in late December 2021, a sanitation worker was similarly mauled by a tiger at the Caribbean Gardens exhibit in the Naples Zoo after he entered an unauthorized area.

Reportedly, a sheriff’s deputy from Collier County shot the tiger — an 8-year-old named Eko — while his jaws were wrapped around the man’s arm. The animal, an endangered Malayan tiger, did not survive.

The janitorial employee, who was later identified as 26-year-old River Rosenquist, did not face criminal charges stemming from the death of the endangered animal.

Of this incident, the sheriff’s office said in a statement, “After a thorough investigation of the incident and after consulting experts in state and federal criminal law and the prosecution of same, it has been concluded that there are no applicable existing laws with which to charge Mr. River Rosenquist for his irresponsible acts that ultimately caused the death of Eko the tiger.”

“Simply put, there are no laws on the books that apply to this reckless act,” the statement continued, “We know this will be very difficult for everyone to understand. It is difficult for us to comprehend.”

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