KANCHANABURI– British student Isabelle Brennan has been left with permanent scarring after a one-hundred-and-eighty kilogram tiger attacked her at an animal sanctuary in Thailand.
Isabelle Brennan a 19 year old Human Sciences university student and her sister Georgie, 21, had only been traveling for a week when the attack took place at Tiger Temple sanctuary in Thailand’s west.
“We were given a talk beforehand and told not to touch the tiger’s head and to remove dangling jewellery,” Brennan said
“We were then shown how to wash a tiger’s back.”
It was while Isabelle was petting and washing a tiger that the animal turned it’s head and mauled her, pushing her to the ground and biting through her thigh.
“Everything happened so fast,” Brennan said.
“One minute I was petting a tiger’s back, the next it turned its head and knocked me to the ground with its paw.”
Keepers at the animal sanctuary were quick to act, jumping between Brennan and the animal as elder sister Georgie dragged her away.
“As it lunged with its teeth I felt an agonising pain on the inside of my left thigh above my knee.
“When I looked down at my leg it was terrifying. All I could see was blood,” she continued.
Two friends traveling with the girls quickly tied a tourniquet around Isabelle’s leg to stop the bleeding.
She was taken to a local hospital where ‘tens of stitched’ were required to repair the large leg wound.
Isabelle also contracted an infection and high fever, keeping her in hospital in Thailand for more than two weeks.
“The Tiger Temple staff were very upset. They paid for all my treatment in hospital and visited every day.”
“They explained the tiger was just being playful,” she told the paper.
“However, I want to warn others going to Tiger Temple that the animals might not be as docile as they first appear.”
Upon her return to the UK, Brennan was wheelchair bound and had to re-learn how to walk unassisted.
“I was nervous about going into the Temple,’ Brennan said.
“However, I was reassured by the staff that as the tigers had been hand-reared, they were so used to humans they were completely tame.
“They were also tethered by chains and the staff told me no-one had ever been seriously injured.”
In hindsight I had an incredibly lucky escape. I could have lost my leg or worse. The Tiger Temple staff were very upset. They paid for all my treatment in hospital and visited every day. They explained the tiger was just being playful. However, I want to warn others going to Tiger Temple that the animals might not be as docile as they first appear.
The animal park where the attack took place is one of only a few in the world where tourists can get up-close-and-personal with the animals.
The tigers are reportedly hand-reared by Buddhist monks in the area.