WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Jonathan Kraft, a former Las Vegas illusionist turned wild nature park executive was seriously injured when a Bengal tiger tore at him while he was transporting the big cats to another location within the sanctuary.
- However, sanctuary reports disclosed that during the process of moving animals, a safety procedure has failed.
- Kraft was rushed to Las Vegas for treatment of his various injuries and broken bones.
When an Arizona wildlife sanctuary director tried to move a group of big cats amid a heavy thunderstorm this week, a Bengal tiger suddenly lunged at him seriously injuring him.
Former Las Vegas illusionist Jonathan Kraft, 73, sustained multiple wounds including two broken bones when the 11-year-old tiger named Bowie pounced on him and gripped him with his strong teeth on Monday, according to a sanctuary statement. The incident occurred while the park was closed to the public in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Out of concern for several large cats, including Bowie, Kraft, the current executive director of the Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in Valentine, took “unilateral action” to move them out of their current premises to another area inside the sanctuary. However, a “safety protocol had obviously failed,” in the process, said sanctuary officials.
The statement said: “During the process, the usually docile behaving Bowie exhibited unusual conduct by suddenly pushing the gates prior to Jonathan being able to secure the safety clips. Although Bowie lacks front claws, he took advantage of his strong teeth to hold onto Jonathan.”
Immediately, animal care staff rushed in to remove Jonathan from Bowie’s grip then rushed him to Kingman Regional Medical Center by first responders and later transferred to Las Vegas for further treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery after several months.
In a statement, Kraft acknowledged that the accident with Bowie was his fault. “I was concerned for his welfare and did not stay focused on him. It only takes a fraction of a second for a captive wild animal to revert to their instinctual behavior. These situations occur when there is human error.”
As for Bowie, he is fine and resting, and won’t be euthanized after the attack.
Source: New York Post