The White Tiger Show at Pensacola Interstate Fair has been canceled for the remainder of the fair after a trainer was injured Tuesday morning, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
A 2-year-old Bengal tiger named Gandhi clawed at the legs of trainer, Vicenta Pages, who suffered cuts and was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital for surgery. Fair publicist Katie King said the minor operation was standard procedure to treat possible infection. Tigers are meat eaters and their teeth and claws are in contact with bacteria.
Warning: Video shows trainer attack.
Pages was injured after she fell backward while performing a demonstration with the tiger in front of 33 children, who were on a school field trip. The fair was closed at the time for the private showing, and no students were harmed.
"She tripped and landed on her butt,'' King said. "He grabbed her legs with his claws. She inched forward so he wouldn't do too much damage, because she didn't want to pull away and make it worse. She followed protocol."
King said Pages' husband rushed inside the fenced demonstration area to help her. King said Pages stood up on her own and briefly talked to the children before she was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital. King said Pages was not bitten.
"She explained that accidents happen, then her husband came on and answered questions for the kids,'' King said.
The children on the field trip were in grades kindergarten through second. King said the children were a mixture of homeschool and private school students. She did not know which private school the students attend.
King said Pages was "playing" with the tiger moments earlier, and he probably thought that Pages was still playing when she fell back. Animal Control was not called, and Gandhi will not be harmed.
"She (Pages) understands it's an accident,'' King said.
Because of the accident and Pages' injuries, the tiger show has been canceled at the Pensacola Interstate Fair, which runs through Oct. 30. No other exhibits will be affected. The tigers had been performing twice a day since the fair began last week. Between performances, some tigers lounged in the fenced demonstration area while others remained in their cages.
Pages is a South Florida animal trainer who has worked with circuses and fairs across the nation.