Apopka Wildlife Sanctuary shows how quickly a tiger can become ferocious

A 48-year-old man is recovering from both his arms injured in a tiger attack in South Florida. It happened at the Everglades Airboat Tours of Wooten in Collier County.

This is the second tiger attack in three months in South Florida. A cleaning service contractor was seriously injured late last year after authorities said he was attacked by a tiger after entering an enclosure at Naples Zoo.

A local wildlife expert says such things are scary and unfortunate, but he’s not surprised. She says nature never leaves the cat.

RELATED: Tiger attacks man at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours in Florida

“You wouldn’t believe this is the sweetest cat in the world,” said Christin Burford as her 8-year-old Bengal tiger mix, Katrina, shields the slice of raw meat on the floor in front of him.

Burford is the director of CARE Foundation in Apopka. She raised Katrina since she was a little girl. Even though Burford feels like her mother, she knows things can change in an instant.

“Their kind comes from nature and that nature is still there. They may be a little more domesticated than some, but they’re not fully domesticated and they won’t be,” Burford said.

Burford says tigers can get particularly ferocious around dinnertime. Describing their reaction to the encounter as a psychopath ready to kill.

“Katrina” Bengal tiger mix at the CARE Foundation animal sanctuary in Apopka, Florida.

“Katrina” Bengal tiger mix at the CARE Foundation animal sanctuary in Apopka, Florida.

“Right now she doesn’t know me among you guys. She would attack me like you guys do,” Burford said.

In Collier County, a 48-year-old man is recovering from being attacked by a tiger while he was being fed. The man was led by a worker into Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours tiger enclosure when he attempted to pet the tigers. It was then that a tiger clung to both of his arms, tearing his skin down to the tendons.

RELATED: Deputy shoots tiger at Florida zoo after it attacks man, authorities say

“When you feed a big cat like this, it’s going to go away. To be in that area when that happens is a mental issue for that person doing something like that,” Burford said.

At the end of December, a 26-year-old in Naples had a tiger cling to his arm and wouldn’t let go. The tiger had to be killed to loosen its grip.

To prevent something like this from happening at his sanctuary, Burford is only allowing very experienced volunteers into the tiger enclosures and has added a second layer of fencing to keep everyone safe.

“I prefer to do it this way because someone can get over a property fence, but it’s harder to get into a fence like this,” Burford said.

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