A wildlife conservationist was attacked and injured by several of her own tigers during an event at a wildlife sanctuary in southern California.
Patty Perry, founder of Wildlife Environmental Conservation (WEC) in Moorpark, California, suffered puncture wounds and several cuts after at least two of the tigers attacked her during a special event for donors.
"They began to play with her and the Bengal took both paws and wrapped them around her legs. She fell on the ground and another tiger jumped on her and began to pull on her before they got her out and she got some lacerations,” said friend and WEC attorney Michael Bradbury to ABC News’ Los Angeles station KABC.
Witnesses, including several members of the fire department, rushed to Perry’s aid during the attack.
"A lot of people I'm sure that saw it were horrified thinking the worst. She said it was obvious they were playing with her because they do love her. She raised them from babies," said Bradbury.
Perry has 50 animals at the facility including zebras, birds, and leopards.
“We use live animal ambassadors for our outreach programs. The impact our information delivers to the public is second only to the impact created by the wildlife,” says the sanctuary’s website. “The animals are the real teachers.”
Bradbury told KABC that animal control is aware of the incident but does not expect anything to happen.
"It’s never happened before. She’s ... been with those tigers, you know, on hundreds and hundreds of occasions and gone through the same kind of routine virtually daily,” Bradbury said.
Bradbury says that Perry knows the animals didn’t mean to harm her and that she is absolutely heartbroken over what happened and, as soon as she is released from the hospital and the investigation concludes, she will be right back doing her normal routine with the animals again.