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August 31, 2010 / V A Nichols

Bengal tiger and gibbon escape cages in Miami Captive Wildlife Menagerie

Toddler comes face to face with  escaped Bengal tiger in Miami zoo

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 6:32 PM on 31st August 2010

Mother Diana Barrett says she will not be renewing her family’s annual pass to the Jungle Island zoo in Miami after a tiger leapt from his enclosure to come within 10 feet of her two-year-old daughter.

Mahesh, a 230kg Bengal tiger, managed to jump over the 14-foot fence and roamed freely around the zoo for about 20 minutes.

Ms Barratt claims she walked around a corner to find her young daughter Dianita calmly staring into the eyes of the huge animal.

Escaped: Mahesh, a Bengal tiger, roamed around Jungle Island zoo for 20 minutes having leapt over his 12ft enclosure fenceEscaped: Mahesh, a Bengal tiger, roamed around Jungle Island zoo for 20 minutes having leapt over his 14ft enclosure fence


On the prowl: Mahesh tiger is believed to have been agitated by a 'mischievous' gibbon named WatsonOn the prowl: Mahesh tiger is believed to have been agitated by a ‘mischievous’ gibbon named Watson

Calm: Visitors to the zoo ran for their lives after the four-year-old male escaped, but he was eventually lured back into his enclosureCalm: Visitors to the zoo ran for their lives after the four-year-old male escaped, but he was eventually lured back into his enclosure

Unharmed: Luckily despite wandering free around the zoo and coming face to face with two-year-old Dianita Barratt no-one was hurt in the incidentUnharmed: Luckily despite wandering free around the zoo and coming face to face with two-year-old Dianita Barratt, no-one was hurt in the incident.

‘I rounded the corner and she’s standing there staring at this tiger,’ she said.

‘About 10 to 15ft away from her just standing there not moving, neither two of them were moving.’

Ms Barrat then acted quickly to remove her daughter from the potentially lethal situation.

She told MSNBC: ‘Well the tiger was very calm and I didn’t want to make it anxious at all so I took a few steps towards her [Dianita], picked her up, and walked in the other direction.’

The zoo has said it is thought a ‘mischievous’ gibbon named Watson was the cause of the scare, with the primate escaping from its cage and antagonising Mahesh who in turn leapt over his 14ft fence.

While the tiger’s escape is being seen as a freak accident, the gibbon’s is not and the zoo could be facing hundreds of dollars in fines over the incident.

—–

The Palm Beach Post via The Miami Herald

Escaped ape lures 500-pound Bengal tiger into frenzied crowd at Miami’s Jungle Island

excerpt:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino said that the agency closed down the tiger exhibit “until the facility makes certain changes to its caging requirements so that this doesn’t happen again.’

The investigation is looking into the escapes of both Mahesh and Watson. “We’re investigating escaped captive wildlife, which is a violation of the law,’ Pino said. “It is fair to say someone would be found responsible.’

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