Carole Baskin is back in the news after a big cat attack at her tiger sanctuary left a staff member seriously injured. The incident occurred around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning when Hillsborough Fire Rescue responded to an animal attack call to Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue, the Tampa-based sanctuary made famous by the hit Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Although the injuries sustained from the tiger were significant, they are fortunately not life-threatening.
Baskin and husband Howard explained the details of the incident to TMZ. Candy Couser, a longtime volunteer at Big Cat Rescue, was reportedly about to feed Kimba the tiger when she reached her hand into the enclosure to open the door. Kimba then “bit into her hand and started thrashing,” nearly tearing Couser’s arm off at the shoulder. The tiger then let go when other staff members ran over to the enclosure to assist Couser, and employees applied a tourniquet and pressure to the wounds until paramedics arrived to transport her to a local hospital.
Carole and Howard also say that Couser was conscious during the ambulance ride and insisted that the tiger not be harmed for the attack. The Baskins add that Kimba was “just acting normal” because there was food present, though the tiger will be quarantined for the next 30 days as a precaution. They also suggest that Couser’s attempt to enter the enclosure without assistance was a violation of Big Cat Rescue policy.
“This is our universal signal NOT to open a gate without the coordinator coming to assist, but Candy said she just wasn’t thinking when she reached in to unclip it,” the Baskins stated. “It is against our protocols for anyone to stick any part of their body into a cage with a cat in it.”
The CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Baskin broke out as a fixture in pop culture when she appeared in the Tiger King documentary series on Netflix. Highlighting Baskin’s work at the sanctuary, the series also delved into her ongoing feud with big cat breeder Joe Exotic, culminating with the latter winding up in prison for allegedly conspiring to have Baskin killed. From behind bars, Joe has continued to quarrel with Baskin, offering to help in a new investigation against Baskin over the disappearance of her ex-husband Don Lewis.
Baskin was also featured as a performer in the latest season of the dancing competition series Dancing with the Stars. Along with partner Pasha Pashkov, Baskin had danced to big cat-themed songs like Eye of the Tiger and Circle of Life before she was eliminated by the third episode. Although she didn’t last for long on the series, things still seem to be working out much better for Baskin than Joe Exotic, who still has many years in prison left ahead of him to serve – despite his legal team’s optimism about a presidential pardon.
If you didn’t binge it back in March, you can watch all episodes of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness on Netflix. This news comes to us from TMZ.