Animals, no matter how tame or domesticated they may seem are still animals and just like the Steppenwolf song that goes “like a true nature’s child we were born, born to be wild”, animals are, yes, born to be wild. When they are agitated, hungry, or scared they go back to the very essence of what makes them animals – the animal instinct, the instinct to survive no matter the cost. In 25 worst animal attack in recent memory, we look back at the events that remind us to never be complacent around our beastly friends.
On February 24, 2010 Dawn Brancheau, a Seaworld Orlando trainer was killed after a 12,300-lb. killer whale attacked her during a “Dine with Shamu” show. The whale, Tilikum, reportedly yanked Brancheau by her ponytail and dragged her down to the bottom of the pool. Witnesses stated that by the time Tilikum and Brancheau were underwater, he had her by the waist and the pool quickly turned red.
Hubbard was a finalist in the Miss Teen USA pageant and planned to join the big leagues some time in the near future. It seemed to dim in a instant however, when a Siberian Husky sank its teeth into her face and shook her head like a toy. Taylor’s teeth and jaw were also broken. 200 stitches were required to repair the damage caused by the attack.
On October 5, 2003 American bear enthusiast, environmentalist, amateur naturalist, eco-warrior and documentary film maker, Timothy Treadwell was killed in Katmai National Park in Alaska where he lived for 13 summers. Willy Fulton, the Kodiak air taxi pilot tasked to pick up Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, found an empty campsite. Treadwell and Huguenard’s mangled bodies were found by local park rangers. Rescuers found Treadwell’s disfigured hand, partial spine, and right forearm in various locations. A large male grizzly tagged Bear 141 was necropsied onsite and it was confirmed that the bear had partially eaten Treadwell and his companion.
In February 2009, Travis, a male chimpanzee, brutally mauled his keeper’s friend, Charla Nash. The attack did major damage to Nash’s face causing her to lose her eyes and nose. She also lost her hands because of the attack. Travis was shot by Connecticut police when the incident took place.
Bryan Jeffrey Griffin was swimming in the Dead River in Lake County, Florida when his friends watching onshore saw alligators and yelled for him to get out of the water. One of the alligators, however, quickly grabbed him by its jaws, thrashed him around and pulled him down. It was too late by the time one of the rescuers retrieved the boy. He was pronounced dead when he got to the hospital.
In March 2002 Roy Horn, of the popular German-American duo of entertainers Siegfried & Roy, was bitten on the neck by a 600-lb. white Bengal tiger named Montecore during a performance at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Horn survived the attack but was in critical condition for several weeks after. It was reported that Horn suffered a stroke and partial paralysis and doctors had to remove one-quarter of his skull during an operation called a decompressive craniectomy to remove pressure off of his swelling brain.
On April 22, 2008, animal trainer, wrangler and stunt double, Stephan Miller was killed during a routine training exercise when Rocky, a 5-year-old grizzly, attacked him. Reports state that Miller was bitten in the neck by the 7½ foot tall, 700 lb bear, killing him within minutes after the incident.
A stray leopard caused total panic when it wandered into an Indian village where it mauled 11 people. Six villagers, a policeman and four forest guards were injured by swipes from the leopard’s claws. Wildlife officials managed to take the beast down with tranquilizer darts.
Andrew Oberle was studying chimp behaviour at the Goodall Institute in South Africa. According to reports, Oberle bypassed two safety fences to get close enough to the chimps and the attack was blamed on human error on the part of Oberle. He was left fighting for his life after being bitten and dragged for half a mile. His parents asked the hospital not to disclose the extent of their son’s injuries but reports have leaked saying that the victim lost his fingers and toes and arms exposed to the bone.
A zookeeper, who remains unidentified, was mauled by a pack of wolves when she entered the enclosure at Kolmarden Wildlife Park, Sweden’s largest zoo. The 30-year old woman, who had worked with the pack of eight wolves since they were puppies, entered alone at around 11 AM when the deadly attacked took place. The woman died after sustaining several injuries and her body was recovered only after zoo employees managed to push the wolves back.
Shaiunna Hare lived in a small one-story house with her mother, Jaren Ashley Hare, 19, and her mother’s boyfriend, Charles Jason Darnell, 32. Darnelle woke up to find that their 8½-foot albino Burmese python was missing from its terrarium. He discovered the python coild around the toddler’s body before stabbing it with a knife. Reports confirm that the toddler was crushed to death by the python and died of asphyxiation. The child’s gaurdians were charged with manslaughter and child neglect and sentenced to 12 years in prison each.
Tatiana, a 243-pound 4-year old Siberian tiger at the San Francisco Zoo, escaped from her open-air enclosure and severely injured 2 brothers — Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal. The third victim was Carlos Eduardo Sousa Jr. A zoo employee found Sousa’s body near the tiger grotto and reported that he saw the victim’s throat severely punctured. Autopsy later revealed that Sousa received blunt force injuries to the head and neck. There were also punctures and scratches on his head, neck and chest. The attack also caused skull and spinal fractures and a cut on the victim’s jugular vein.
During a ride on a new rollercoaster called Apollo’s Chariot, romance novel coverboy Fabio was hit by a bird on the nose causing causing him to temporarily lose his “fabulous” style.
The whole world was in shock upon learning that the beloved wildlife expert, television personality, and conservationist, Steve Irwin aka “The Crocodile Hunter”, was killed after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming an underwater documentary film titled Ocean’s Deadliest.
Chronicle executive editor Phil Bronstein suffered a serious foot injury after he was attacked by a venomous Komodo dragon at a Los Angeles Zoo. Bronstein was shoeless at the time of the attack. He was wearing white tennis shoes during his visit and was told by the zoekeeper to take them off as the dragon might mistake them for the white rats that zookeepers usually feed it with. The dragon’s jaws crushed the casing of Bronstein’s big toe. He had to undergo surgery to reattach severed tendons. Bronstein was with his then-wife Sharon Stone during the incident.