Halloween usually brings about some craziness, but one Omaha woman took things to another level.
Thirty-three year old Jacqueline Eide snuck into the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium with her friend on Saturday night after the park had closed. They made their way to the cage of Mai, an 18 year old Malayan tiger. Eide stuck her left hand into Mai’s cage enclosure and, no surprise here, she got bitten.
Omaha police officials released a statement on Sunday which said:
“Through investigation, it was learned that Eide had made unauthorized entry into the Zoo to pet a tiger. When she reached into the cage, she was bitten causing severe trauma to her hand.”
The statement revealed that Jacqueline was taken to the Creighton University Medical Center by her friend. Police were called by the hospital due to a disturbance. The statement said:
“Eide was aggressive toward staff and showed signs of intoxication of alcohol and/or drugs.”
At that point, Eide was cited for criminal trespassing but remained at the hospital where she was at risk of losing some fingers from the injury. KETV (CNN) reported that Eide has a past history of convictions for reckless behaviour.
Dennis Pate is the executive director of the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. In his official statement, he ensured the public that the safety of park patrons is a priority. It read:
“Emergency phone numbers are printed on maps for guests to call in case of an emergency, and security staff keep watch on grounds around the clock. We have added security cameras, new path lighting and computer-controlled locks to track exit and entry. Additional path lighting is planned for the new African Grasslands exhibit, and more cameras will be installed to monitor the grounds and gates.”
Social media was abuzz with questions about the fate of Mai after the incident. Mai was rescued from poachers as a cub and had to have her left front leg amputated. She spent time in a Southern Malaysian zoo to rehabilitate before she was transferred to Omaha in 2003.
Mike Verbrigghe works at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium as the lead keeper of wild cats. When asked to describe Mai’s demeanor, he said:
“She’s very friendly, which is odd because she came from the wild. She was forced to rely on humans from a young age, so she’s pretty trusting. In fact, she’ll look for attention from just about anyone.”
The zoo has assured concerned followers of the story that Mai will not be punished for Eide’s stupidity. They said:
“Thank you everyone for your concerns about Mai, our Malayan tiger. Mai will remain on display as normal and go about life as usual. No action will be taken against her.”
Jacqueline Sanchez “Three-legged Malayan Tiger” YouTube. 16 June 2013. Web. 02 November 2015.