In Russia, a 14-month-old baby has his thumb ripped off by a tiger in a Safari enclosure after his mom held him too close to the predator.
Anastasia, 22, claimed the tiger gave no warning before it mounted the barrier to attack her 14-month-old son Leon on September 27.
Leon had his finger ripped clean off and it was impossible to get it back from the predator at the Taigan Safari Park in Crimea, Anastasia said.
Witnesses claimed the beast reached over a barrier to claw at the child leaving the little boy’s left thumb “completely detached.” Blood burst everywhere as the tiger lunged over the barrier at the big cat enclosure.
“I took Leon into my arms,” Anastasia said. “We were standing behind the fence, and there is a distance of about 30cm (1ft) between the fence and the net that separates visitors and animals.”
“Everything was perfect – until I suddenly realized there was blood bursting, and my son had lost his thumb,” the terrified mom continued. “My boy was yelling, crying, screaming. I was in such shock I couldn’t think. I ran to get help with him in my arms.”
Leon was rushed to a nurse at Taigan safari park’s first aid point, and an ambulance took the boy to the hospital in Simferopol, Crimea. However, his thumb was not reattached as they couldn’t retrieve it from the beast.
“I didn’t hear any sounds like a roar, or anything to alert me to danger,” she added. “Other visitors who saw it said that a tiger jumped from somewhere above, and pulled my son’s arm with one of its claws.”
Anastasia claims that the bars of the enclosure had a gap allowing the big cat to poke its paw outside.
However, law enforcement sources suggested the mother had gone beyond a safety barrier and that the tiger bit not clawed her son’s thumb, which Anastasia strongly denies.
The park is run by legendary lion whisperer Oleg Zubkov, who allows some visitors to “safely” mingle with untethered big cats.
The Taigan lion park is situated in the city of Belohorsk on an abandoned Soviet military base that Zubkov purchased in 2006, and is publicized as the largest breeding ground for lions and other predator animals in Europe.
As of 2019 about 80 lions and 50 tigers roamed over the area of over 30 hectares of Crimean foothills by the Taigan Reservoir. The Taigan park once attracted 500,000 visitors a year but has struggled since Russia’s 2014 takeover.
The Taigan safari park in Crimea, occupied by Russia from Ukraine since 2014, has not commented on the incident.
The mother intends to make a claim against the park for negligence in providing safety.
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