Baraboo man out of surgery after tiger attack - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Baraboo man out of surgery after tiger attack


By Colby Robertson - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

ROCK SPRINGS (WKOW) -- A tiger attack sends a Baraboo man to the hospital by med-flight.

John Meeker, 38, is in fair condition after a scary encounter with a Siberian tiger. It happened just before 1:00 p.m. at the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue Center in Rock Springs.

Meeker's wife says it was an unfortunate accident and the tiger just wanted to play.

It was a typical day at the Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue and Educational Center, with volunteers going around to each cage putting out water. Meeker was at Kahn's cage, a seven-year-old Siberian tiger.

Mary Meeker saw it all unfold right in front of her own eyes, with panic setting in as Kahn took hold of her husband, pulling his arm into the fenced area.

The Rock Springs Rescue Center is home to 30 big cats: 19 tigers, 6 lions and 5 leopards.

Mary Meeker says, "From a cat's perspective, something moving is play and they don't want to hurt, they just want to play, they don't realize they are 3, 4, 5 times our size."

The non-profit organization rescues big cats from across the country. They're completely dependent on volunteers and donations from the community. Their goal is to educate people about these animals and what they can do.

Meeker says, "This is not what normally happens, it's beyond a freak thing, this is beyond unusual. This is one of the safest places for the animal and people."

The victim was stabilized and airlifted to UW Hospital. Meeker says her husband is out of surgery and doing well.

A detective from the Sauk County Sheriff's Department was at the scene investigating the incident.

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