"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Tiger Held in Captivity Unleashes Its Fury

Courtesy of SplodgeMolly (Flickr CC0)

Tigers are the largest cat species of a decreasing population among the animal kingdom. They are fast, strong, bold, and most importantly fearless. It is easy to spot this fierce creature by its dark vertical stripes on orange fur with white on the belly. If anyone has ever been to the nearest zoo, they will notice that all animals are displayed in cages or enclosed areas that prevent contact with the general public. For the most part, they are well trained by professionals, and attendees are always asked to not get too close to the cages or stick their hands in them. A tiger held in captivity, or otherwise, will unleash its fury when the opportunity presents itself.

Courtesy of Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi (Flickr CC0)

Elko was an 8-year-old Malaysian tiger that was on display at Naples Zoo in Florida. Currently, there are only 200 of them in today’s world due to the species being endangered. The tiger held in captivity unleashed its fury as a cleaning employee placed his arm in the tiger’s enclosure. As a result, a sheriff in Florida fired one shot and killed Elko.

“The sheriff’s office said it appeared the man was trying to pet or feed the tiger but noted the information was preliminary,” according to NBC News. The 26-year-old cleaning employee named River Rosenquist of Naples, Florida crossed the fence barrier and put his arm through the fencing of the animal’s enclosure. The beautiful Malaysian beast grabbed River’s arm and dragged him until the sheriffs arrived when he was later killed. “The cleaning company is responsible for cleaning restrooms and the gift shop, not animal enclosures, the sheriff’s office said,” according to The New York Times. Rosenquist entered a restricted unauthorized area.

Courtesy of Paul Huber (Flickr CC0)

Creatures of all walks of life around the globe are known to protect themselves and maul oppositions when they feel it is necessary or danger presents itself. As a species of an endangered population, Elko possibly felt threatened not knowing or ever meeting the man who should have been cleaning other areas around the zoo.

Some might ask, what was he thinking? Naples zoo has signs available with clear rules to ensure everyone’s safety. Elko is dead due to contracted employees hired by the zoo not following the rules of its establishment.

The cleaner suffered serious injuries as a tiger held in captivity unleashed its fury. He was taken to a nearby center, Lee Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, for treatment. Naples Sheriff’s department is investigating the tragedy and possible charges could be filed against Rosenquist.

Naples Zoo hosts hundreds of thousands of people yearly who are excited to see animals and enjoy time with their loved ones. While planning a trip to the nearest zoo, please remember to follow the park’s guidelines, rules, procedures, and protocols of that establishment to prevent harmful situations. Animals are beautiful creatures who also deserve the same respect as humans. Be mindful and respectful of boundaries or the world may see another horrible incident ending in a beautiful endangered species death.

Written by Lionel Carter
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


NBC News: Man injured after he put his arm in a tiger’s cage at Fla. zoo; tiger was shot and killed; by Phil Helsel
The New York Times: Tiger Bites Arm of Man Reaching Into Enclosure at Florida Zoo, Officials Say; by Michael Levenson
ABC News: Criminal charges possible for man attacked by tiger after reaching into enclosure at Florida zoo; by Meredith Deliso and Will Gretsky

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of SplodgeMolly’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Paul Huber’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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