Inside The Serious Injury At Carole Baskin's Big Cat Rescue

Carole Baskin, star of the hit Netflix docuseries Tiger King, had a big problem on her hands after an incident took place at her Big Cat Rescue sanctuary. The controversial animal rights activist revealed a tiger almost bit off volunteer Candy Couser's arm while tending to one of her big cats in Tampa, Fla. The tiger known as Kimba, "grabbed her arm and nearly tore it off at the shoulder," Baskin wrote to BuzzFeed News in an email.

At the time of the accident, Kimba was caged in a section of the facility where they typically do not feed their big cats. Although the cage was securely locked, Couser opened the enclosure anyway, but Baskin explained fastened doors typically serve as the "universal signal NOT to open a gate without the coordinator coming to assist."

Even though Couser had been volunteering at Big Cat Rescue for five years, "she just wasn't thinking when she reached in to unclip it," Baskin explained to the outlet. "It is against our protocols for anyone to stick any part of their body into a cage with a cat in it." Keep scrolling for more details about how the volunteer is doing after the terrible accident.

Carole Baskin and her team sprang into action to help the volunteer

Seconds after veteran Big Cat Rescue volunteer Candy Couser almost had her arm severed by tiger Kimba, Carole Baskin said her team jumped into action to save one of their own. Several staffers helped pulled Couser back to safety and used a belt as a tourniquet. They then "packed her arm in ice packs to try and save it" until the ambulance arrived, Baskin explained to BuzzFeed News.

Once Couser was en route to the nearest hospital, with what Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson Eric Seidel described to BuzzFeed as a "serious injury," the volunteer "insisted that she did not want Kimba Tiger to come to any harm for this mistake." As a safety protocol, Kimba will be quarantined for the next 30 days because he "was just acting normal due to the presence of food and the opportunity," Baskin noted. As of this writing, there are no further details about Couser's condition and whether or not the doctors were able to save her limb. 

Carole Baskin is demanding change after the incident

Carole Baskin summoned her volunteers and staff members to debrief after the tragic incident. Recalling the meeting to BuzzFeed News, Baskin explained that she "reminded everyone that this sort of tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye and that we cannot relax our guard for a second around these dangerous cats."

The animal rights activist explained that the horrific event is one of the numerous reasons the Big Cat Public Safety Act is necessary. Said law would ban private ownership of big cats, such as tigers, lions, and leopards. "The fact that, despite our intense safety protocols and excellent record of safety, an injury like this can occur just confirms the inherent danger in dealing with these animals." Baskin also added that such incidents demonstrate "why we need the Big Cat Public Safety Act to eliminate having them untracked in backyards around the country and ending up in sanctuaries where wonderful people like Candy Couser have committed themselves to providing care for those discarded by the pay to play industry." Congress is set to vote on the proposed legislation in December 2020.