Wooten’s employee ignored verbal warnings not to pet tiger prior to attack

Published: Updated:
Wooten's airboats animal sanctuary
Wooten’s airboats animal sanctuary Credit: WINK News

An employee at Wooten’s who was attacked by a tiger on Tuesday was warned verbally by other staff beforehand not to put his hand through the tiger’s enclosure.

A report from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office shows Ignacio Meabe Martinez, 48, was told by another employee at Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours in Ochopee to stop what he was doing.

The other employee said he was followed by Martinez into the outer tiger enclosure when it was time for a feeding, according to the report.

Martinez put his hands through the fence to pet the tiger but the other employee told him to stop, the report states.

However, Martinez once again put his hand through the enclosure and as a result, “the tiger grabbed both of the subject’s arms with his mouth and briefly held him before letting go,” the report states.

When deputies arrived they found Martinez lying on his back conscious and breathing. He had large open wounds to his forearms but was not bleeding actively.

Martinez was airlifted to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers for treatment.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.