SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A tiger at an East County animal sanctuary has been killed by another tiger after staff accidentally allowed them to come in contact. ABC10 News confirmed that the surviving tiger is the same one that was rescued from a highly publicized smuggling bust at the border.
Bobbi Brink is the founder of Alpine nonprofit Lions Tigers & Bears. She spoke to ABC10 News on Tuesday about Monday's incident where 7-year-old Maverick was attacked by another tiger named Moka in a tragedy of human error. No staff members or visitors were hurt. "It's a terrible accident and it occurred during the daily share that the tigers do every day when they put the tigers separately. Well, they accidentally put them in contact," she told ABC10 News.
Moka sustained only a few scratches. He's the same tiger that was first reported on in 2017 when he was rescued from a smuggler at the U.S.-Mexico border. "They found him on the floorboard of somebody's car and he went to the zoo and the zoo couldn't keep him so he came to Lions Tigers & Bears," added Brink.
Maverick was rescued in 2014 by California Fish and Wildlife staff after he was born in captivity and purchased illegally by a buyer who wasn't licensed to own an exotic animal.
The nonprofit stated that it regularly holds safety trainings including one just last weekend. It plans to extensively review its protocols this week. "The process of caring for these animals doesn't leave any space for error," added Brink.
On Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for the nonprofit called to say that the facility remains open. ABC10 News had previously reported that it would remain closed until at least Saturday, after Brink stated that in an interview with ABC10 News earlier on Tuesday.