Two-year-old Israeli mauled by leopard after relative opens zoo enclosure

A two-year-old was mauled by a leopard after his grandfather mistakenly opened the door to its cage.

The toddler and his relatives, all from Rishon LeTsiyon, Israel, were visiting the safari park in Koh Samui, Thailand, last Thursday (August 22) morning.

They had finished an elephant ride then walked over to the leopard's pen to take pictures.

But their boy's grandfather is reported to have accidentally opened the door to the big cat's pen - sparking desperate scenes when the six-year-old leopard named Tony burst out and pounced on the youngster.

The man was reportedly expecting the leopard to have been docile in order for the tourists to have their pictures taken with it.

But the big cat then dashed out of the enclosure and attacked the youngster.

The boy, named Orr Burns, suffered a fractured cheekbone in the attack. He was later pictured with blood pouring from wounds on his face.

Rafi Burns, Orr's father, said that the leopard pinned the boy to the ground. Passers-by had to kick the leopard's head to save the youngster.

He said: "The leopard is supposed to be drowsy, fuzzy and not aggressive. There should be a person next to the animal's cage. There was no ambulance there and they didn't know how to evacuate him.

"We felt like we were helpless. I rushed to the cars and asked for him to be taken to the hospital. Everyone was scared and didn't want to take. We didn't believe such a disaster would happen.''

Rafe Benvenisti, Burns's uncle, said the family had gone on an elephant riding trip. At the end of the route, he said the guide sent them to the door in front of the leopard so they could take pictures with him

Rafe said: "We waited at the door and it was closed with a hook. Nobody knew what was behind the door, so one of the men opened the handle, and the tiger ran to the door and escaped. There were screams. The tiger jumped on Orr's mother, passed under her feet then leapt at the child.

"The tiger (sic) locked onto his face for four or five seconds. He didn't release Orr until one of the locals kicked the tiger in the head. Everyone was shocked. We were looking for someone to take us to a hospital. We started screaming until someone drove a vehicle and took us. "

Rafe said the youngster was screaming in pain after the attack. He was taken to hospital for a scan where he was found to have suffered a fractured cheekbone.

He added: "The tiger is supposed to be drugged and sleepy. People are supposed to be brought into it only after it is fed and asleep. That was not the case. Everyone who has visited Thailand has pictures with this tiger. It's a normal thing to do.''

CCTV footage from the incident shows how the leopard was quickly wrestled back into its cage in under ten seconds.

Zookeeper Naphat Pleumsut said the leopard was six-years-old and called Tony. He said that the owners of the safari park had covered the costs of medical treatment for the youngster.

He said: ''Realtives of the boy opened the door by mistake and they were not able to close it in time. The leopard then escaped.

''Staff quickly responded and pushed the leopard back into the cage in under ten seconds.

''Authorities from the safari park took the injured boy to Bangkok Hospital Samui. He had a wound on the face and a broken cheekbone. The zoo took care of every issue, including accommodation costs and medical fee and co-ordinated with the insurance company.''

Naphat said that the parents of the boy had thanked the park for helping with the treatment of the boy.

The family have now returned to Israel where the youngster is receiving more hospital treatment for his injuries.

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By: NewsFlare (73473.00)

Tags: WTF, Leopard, mauled, two-year old

Location: Thailand