Wildlife conservationist mauled by two tigers while trying to play with them

Wildlife conservationist mauled by two tigers while trying to play with them

An American conservationist has been mauled by two tigers while she tried to play with them.

The incident took place on Sunday when 66-year-old Patty Perry entered their enclosure. At first, the animals appeared to be attempting to play with her, but things soon turned ugly, and the conservationist left their enclosure covered in cuts and puncture wounds.

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Perry was dragged from the enclosure by other members of staff at the Moorpark animal sanctuary in California. The sanctuary was launched by the Wildlife Environmental Conservation (WEC), a non-profit organization "dedicated to conservation efforts throughout the globe", of which Perry is the founder.

During the attack, the 66-year-old's legs were gripped by the paws of a Bengal tiger, who pulled her to the ground. Once on the floor, a second tiger attacked Perry with its claws.

However, despite her injuries, Perry has said that she believes the incident was not done out of malice, but play.

A woman feeding two tigers. Credit: HelpWildlife.org

In an interview with ABC7 Los Angeles, Michael Berry, one of the attorneys for the Wildlife Environmental Conservation, said: "A lot of people I'm sure that saw it were horrified thinking the worst.

"[Perry] said it was obvious they were playing with her because they do love her. She raised them from babies."

Describing the incident, he said: "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."

Perry remains in hospital. Meanwhile, an investigation into the incident is underway.

A woman with an eagle on her arm. Credit: HelpWildlife.org

And while Perry is reportedly devastated about what happened, she fully intends to return to the tigers and her work as a conservationist as soon as possible.

Her attorney said: "It's never happened before. She's gone in on hundreds of occasions."

Over 50 animals are housed at WEC. In addition to the tigers, there are zebras and other big cats.