An employee of the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park has been hospitalized following a tiger attack at the Oklahoma zoo.
Initial reports stated that the animal severely injured the zoo worker's arm -- possibly severing it -- after she reached inside the cage.
In a statement on the zoo's Facebook page, owner Joe Schreibvogel provided more details about the Saturday morning incident that occurred around 10 a.m.
[A] female worker violated safety protocol and placed her hand inside a adult male tiger cage. She was wearing a large goose down jacket which got bunched up inside the cage wire not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough and the tiger grabbed her hand pulling her left arm through a 4 inch square hole... This was an employee error of violating the safety protocols of placing any part of the body inside a cage. The tiger will not be put down and our thoughts and prayers are with the member of our staff that was injured.
The zoo worker, whose name has not been released, was air evacuated to a local hospital for treatment. Local NBC affiliate KFOR-TV reports that the woman is in stable condition. However, Garvin County Sheriff's deputies told CBS affiliate KOTV that she may have lost her arm in the tiger attack.
"He tore her arm up pretty bad," Schreibvogel told The Associated Press. "Her entire arm was still attached. It was badly, badly damaged."
This is not the first time the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park, previously called the G.W. Exotic Animal Park, has made headlines. The Oklahoma zoo, located in Wynnewood, has been the frequent subject of abuse accusations from multiple animal rights groups. Last month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals renewed its pledge to shut the animal park down and called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to refuse a renewal of the zoo's license.