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“Many staff are frightening after the accident happened, so we are now deciding whether to close Tiger Kingdom for one or two days to boost staff confidence,” general manager Kachane Jakkapark said yesterday (October 22).
“It was accident. The best thing we can do now is to give full support to the [injured] tourist,” he added.
This afternoon (October 22), Kathu District Chief Sayan Chaichanawong, acting on orders from Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong, led Thung Thong Police to visit the victim, 49-year-old Paul Goudie, in his room at Phuket International Hospital, where he is recovering from he attack.
Thung Thong Police superintendent, Col Thitirat Asakit told the press that Tiger Kingdom staff had been watching as Mr Goudie played with the tiger and had his photo taken with the big cat. “The staff were paying attention,” he added.
He said that the tiger bit Mr Goudie as he stood up. “Because his weight is over 119 kilograms, he can’t stand up easily, so staff were helping him to stand when the attack took place,” he explained.
He said that management thought the tiger might have believed Mr Goudie was attacking the staff, and that was why it had bitten him.
“The tiger may have felt protective towards the people who take care of it, so it bit him on the left calf. Mr Goudie has had 29 stitches to his wounds,” he added.
District Chief Sayan confirmed that Mr Goudie’s condition is improving, “He was able to talk with me and understood that it was an accident,”
“He also promised me that he will visit Tiger Kingdom again the next time he is in Thailand,” he added.
Mr Sayan also displayed documents provided to him by Tiger Kingdom showing that the facility has the correct operating license issued by the Royal Forestry Department (RFD).
Mr Kachane added, “We have to send our safety training record every year to the RFD.”