Tiger Bites Worker at Tennessee Big Cat Sanctuary, Leaving Her Hospitalized

A worker at a big cat sanctuary in Tennessee has been hospitalized after a tiger bit her, officials have said.

Local media outlets have reported that a female employee at Tiger Haven in Roane County was bitten on the arm on Monday, while feeding one of the big cats.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Her condition and the severity of the injury have not yet been revealed.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investigating the incident.

Newsweek has contacted Tiger Haven, the Roane County Sheriff's Office, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for further details.

There are 200 big cats at Tiger Haven, including tigers, lions, leopards, pumas, snow leopards, jaguars and clouded leopards.

According to Tiger Haven's website, each cat is fed between four and 22 pounds of chicken and beef each day, depending on the animal, with the feeding process undertaken by six members of staff.

"All the cats at Tiger Haven are fed separately. That way there is no competition for the food and we know each cat is getting the amount they need," the Tiger Haven website says.

"The cats are first put into their individual lock-outs, then they are fed their dinners. It is important that each cat in the same enclosure get their trays as close to the same time as possible.

"They get excited when one has their food and another has not gotten theirs yet."

It adds that enclosure and perimeter fencing at the facility is "formally inspected three times each day, including the first thing each morning and the last thing each evening," and that "only trained personnel can enter any enclosure with a cat."

Mauling incidents at big cat sanctuaries and other enclosures are infrequent but not unheard of.

In 2017, a 33-year-old zookeeper at Hamerton Zoo Park in the U.K. was killed by a tiger in a "freak accident," when the two were left in an enclosure together.

In 2013, a tiger mauled a 21-year-old at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana, clamping its jaws around her head during the attack. Her injuries included a broken jaw and badly damaged vocal cords.

Months before that, a 24-year-old volunteer was killed by a lion at Cat Haven in California, after it escaped from a feeding cage.

A tiger walking
A stock image shows a tiger, unrelated to the animal that was involved in the incident. A worker at Tiger Haven in Tennessee was bitten on the arm while feeding one of the big cats. iStock