WILD NATURE

When Animals Attack

It's been a tough few months for man's best friends. First a chimp horrified the nation by mauling his owner's friend. Then a SeaWorld trainer died after falling into a killer whale tank. We take a look at the most vicious animal attacks.

Grizzly Bear

Officials say a bear attacked a couple inside their central Pennsylvania home, sending both people to a hospital.

Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser says the attack happened Monday morning in Oliver Township. He says the couple's dog was outside and ran into the home, followed by the bear.

Feaser says the man inside the home was scratched and bitten and a woman was attacked as she tried to chase the animal away.

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Reuters

SeaWorld Killer Whale Attacks

A trainer at SeaWorld Orlando died this week after being attacked by a killer whale named Tilikum (far left.)

Witnesses said that the trainer  (shown in photo) had just finished explaining to the audience the show they were about to see when the whale suddenly came up from the water, grabbed the trainer around the waist and "thrashed her all around" -- so hard that the trainer's shoe fell off.

Because of his size and the previous deaths, trainers were not supposed to get into the water with Tilikum, reportedly the largest whale in captivity. 

Tilikum was one of three orcas blamed for killing a trainer in 1991 after the woman lost her balance and fell in the pool at Sealand of the Pacific near Victoria, British Columbia.

AP/Reuters

Travis the Chimp Mauls Woman

A 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis went berserk in 2009 after its owner (pictured bottom right) asked her friend Charla Nash (top right) to help lure the animal back into her house in Connecticut. 

The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.  A police officer shot the chimpanzee after it tried to get into his patrol car.

Nash revealed her heavily disfigured face on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and remains in stable condition at the Cleveland Clinic.

AP/Handouts

Steve Irwin Sting Ray Attack

Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed in 2006 by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44. 

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails.

AP/ crocodilehunter.com

Siegfried and Roy

In October 2003, a tiger (similar to the one pictured far left) sank its teeth into illusionist Roy Horn's neck during a performance, dragging him offstage in front of a horrified audience. 

Horn was partially paralyzed, suffering a damaged neck artery and crushed windpipe.

After 13 years and more than 5,000 performances, the "Siegfried & Roy" magic show at Las Vegas' Mirage hotel immediately went dark, ending one of the most successful shows in the city's history.

 

siegfriedandroy.com/AP

Tarzan Tiger Escape

In 2004, a 600-pound tiger named Bobo escaped from the nearby five-acre home of Steve Sipek, who once played Tarzan in movies of the same name.

A wildlife officer eventually shot and killed the cat after 26 hours on the loose.

That shooting set off a public outcry.  An agency report later found the officer used sound judgment and complied with the agency's guidelines when he shot the Bengal-Siberian tiger. 

However, the report also noted that the officer's lack of training in dealing with big cats, his proximity to the animal and a tranquilizer team's delay in getting to the scene factored into the cat's death.

At the time, Sipek and others complained that killing the cat was unnecessary.

AP

Chimp Visit Gone Bad

Two chimpanzees at the Animal Ranch wildlife sanctuary near Bakersfield, Calif., attacked a man and his wife in 2005, viciously maiming the man, before being shot to death.  

The couple was visiting their former pet chimp Moe (pictured) that resided at the sanctuary.  Moe later escaped the same sanctuary in 2009, and was not found.

Animal behaviorists suggested the attack could have been caused over the attention the couple lavished on Moe and an innate desire to defend their territory.

AP

Gorilla Escapes Boston Zoo

In 2003, a 300-pound gorilla named Little Joe escaped from its enclosure at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, attacked a 2-year-old girl and a teenage zoo employee.  

He was later tranquilized. It was the second time in two months that the animal escaped.

AP/zoonewengland.org

Kasatka Mauls Trainer

A 17-foot-long, 7,000-pound orca named Kasatka bit a SeaWorld San Diego park trainer, holding him underwater several times during a show in 2006. 

The trainer (pictured), who had been attacked on two prior occasions in 1993 and 1999, escaped with a broken foot.

AP

San Francisco Zoo Escape

On Christmas Day 2007, a Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped from its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo, killed one man and mauled two brothers before being shot dead.  

The animal was able to leave an enclosure surrounded by an 18-foot wall and a 20-foot moat. 

Court documents showed one of victims was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure.

In May 2009, the zoo agreed to pay the two brothers $900,000 to settle numerous claims.

The same tiger also ripped the flesh off a zookeeper's arm in 2006 while the woman was feeding the animal through the bars. A state investigation faulted the zoo, which installed better equipment at the Lion House, where the big cats are kept.

AP

San Antonio Zoo Tiger Attack

In 2007, a 244-pound Sumatran tiger named Berani bit a zookeeper in the head several times in an exhibit yard at the San Antonio Zoo after the keeper forgot to close and lock a series of gates behind him. 

The exhibit was separated from visitors by a moat and bars, but several people witnessed the attack.

 

 

AP

When Animals Attack

It's been a tough few months for man's best friends. First a chimp horrified the nation by mauling his owner's friend. Then a SeaWorld trainer died after falling into a killer whale tank. We take a look at the most vicious animal attacks.

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