Zoo keeper put fingers in lion's cage
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Thread: Zoo keeper put fingers in lion's cage

  1. #1
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    Post Zoo keeper put fingers in lion's cage

    The split-second mistake costs the Busch Gardens worker most of her arm. Doctors are unable to reattach it.


    TAMPA -- Steadying herself as she got out of a chair, zoologist Amanda Bourassa wrapped her fingers around a bar of an African lion's cage at Busch Gardens.

    It was a basic mistake, even if the bars were only 1 1/2-inches apart, said a state wildlife investigator reviewing the incident.

    In a split second, the 364-pound feline pounced and bit down on a finger or two before severing Bourassa's right arm at the elbow.

    The arm was recovered on the floor of the cage but doctors at Tampa General Hospital were unable to reattach it, a spokesman said. Bourassa, a 21-year-old former Miss Land O'Lakes, was listed in good condition Monday.

    The park's policy forbids putting any appendage inside the bars, said Lt. Steve DeLacure of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The lion was caged according to regulations, he said.

    "This was not a freak accident because it could have been avoided," said DeLacure, labeling it "a handling error."

    Bourassa, known in her Citrus Park neighborhood as a chipper beauty with aspirations of becoming a veterinarian, minutes earlier had finished a routine training exercise with Max, the 12-year-old lion.

    Max was ordered to lie down and stick its tail through the bars. The exercise is performed weekly so zoologists can draw blood for medical purposes. The animal has undergone the training exercise since it was brought to Busch Gardens in 1997.

    No blood was taken during Sunday's exercise, said Glenn Young, the park's vice president of zoological operations.

    Bourassa's job was to give bits of meat to Max as a reward for good behavior. DeLacure said the scent of food may have remained on her hand, or glove, which might have incited the animal to bite down.

    "She may have had the glove on, and that would have been enough of a target," DeLacure said.

    Officials were still trying to interview witnesses Monday to determine how the lion severed Bourassa's arm.

    At the time of the ordeal, she was giving an approved, behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo to her mother, father, boyfriend and boyfriend's parents. It occurred in an area away from zoo patrons.

    Young said Max will remain in the "Edge of Africa" exhibit, though he has been temporarily taken out of display. Private tours that were available only to zoologists' families have been suspended, Young said.

    Bourassa was known even as a child to be a friend to animals. She took in dogs, owned horses and even cows, said longtime neighbors. At one time, she worked part time at an animal clinic.

    "She was always bringing around the stray cats," said neighbor Monica Mora, 36. "She loves animals."

    She joined the Future Farmers of America while at Gaither High School. At 15, she was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times, giddy after success at the State Fair: "I cried, I was so proud when my milk heifer won blue ribbons at the fair."

    As a senior, she won the title of Miss Land O'Lakes 1998 and represented the community for a year in parades and other events.

    "She's a little cowgirl," her mother, Mary Bourassa, then told the Times. She entered Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Ga., and had plans to study veterinary science, with a specialty in equine medicine.

    She had worked at Busch Gardens for a year.

    "There aren't too many kids who follow their dreams and she was one of them," said another longtime neighbor, Melody Robinson, 43.

    DeLacure said it doesn't appear Busch Gardens is to blame. Its procedures are well-regarded, he said. "This facility sets the standard for the whole country."

    Young said Bourassa was trained and "proficient in our operating protocols."

    Her family kept vigil at the hospital and declined comment to reporters.

    A computer-printed note posted inside a window next to her front door read:

    "IF YOU WORK IN A ZOO . . . PLEASE . . . TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF . . . THANKS, MOM." Two hearts were also printed on the note.
    All I can say is what a dumb ass.... *lol*


    System_0verload

  2. #2
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    Holy ****, I sort of feel sorry for this person... But its these kinds of people that use AOL

  3. #3
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    I think it's kind of sad. It's not like she stuck her arm in the cage and waved it around. People do things all the time that aren't very smart, and this was just one of those things. To have your life completely changed in that manner, it's going to be very hard for her to start over. We all make mistakes sometimes, and fortunately, not all of us have to pay like that.

    Deb
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  4. #4
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    Like debwalin said, she herself was not stupid, and as the article said she was very good at what she did. This was just a careless mistake, but unfortunately one that cost her her arm. If she were taunting it or doing something else that would be obviously stupid (like reaching her hand through to feed it), I could see the humor in it, but this is not something to be laughed at.
    Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive (the dang thing blew up)

    \"Ask not what the kernel can do for you, ask what you can do for the kernel!\"

  5. #5
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    I think to the UN*X admin, this is like typing "rm .[space]/*" or similiar as root... you tend to notice it just about as fast, but it's already too late.
    \"Windows has detected that a gnat has farted in the general vicinity. You must reboot for changes to take affect. Reboot now?\"

  6. #6
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
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    I have to feel sorry for the poor girl, "stupid mistake" or not. Like Debwalin said; we all make stupid mistakes from time to time, but we don't all have to pay the total price for them. I've made my share and part of someone else's but got away slick... just like most of you probably have. 'Nuff sed.

  7. #7
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    I made mistakes as bad, gladly it didn't involve an adult lion!
    Off course cars can be as dangerous as lions and a mere mistake can cost you life! Again gladly it costed me only stitches, I didn't loose a limb...
    [shadow]Scorp666, the Infamous Orgasmatron[/shadow]

  8. #8
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    If you think that's bad, check the stupid things the people did at this site....

    They've all been awarded the highest honour (for stupidity)

    www.darwinawards.com

    Check it out, there are a lot of stupid people.... who all died because of it

  9. #9
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    Originally posted here by tyger_claw
    www.darwinawards.com
    Good to see that they are finally making better progress of clearly listing the Urban Legends.
    \"Windows has detected that a gnat has farted in the general vicinity. You must reboot for changes to take affect. Reboot now?\"

  10. #10
    Old-Fogey:Addicts founder Terr's Avatar
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    Personally I don't see this sort of thing as a Dumb-User phenomenon as much as a oh-so-sad-freak occurence. Zookeeper != AOL user.
    [HvC]Terr: L33T Technical Proficiency

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