WEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – In the wake of a tiger attack in Pensacola on Tuesday, South Florida’s Santa’s Enchanted Forest has cancelled its tiger show at the “World’s Largest Holiday Theme Park.”
The attack took place during the Pensacola Interstate Fair. A Bengal tiger scratched and dragged its trainer in front of dozens of elementary school kids on a field trip. A video of the incident allegedly taken by a student surfaced on social media. The trainer is now recovering from surgery.
Animal activists, who don’t believe tigers and other live animals should be used during live shows, let it be known they were against the live tiger show and were planning a protest.
In response, Santa’s Enchanted Forest canceled its Tiger Encounter.
A post on their Facebook page states “Santa’s has decided NOT to bring back the Tiger show this season. We appreciate your concerns and support against animal cruelty. Please let your supporters know that Santa’s does not support cruelty to animals and all animals that are part of the event are reviewed carefully to assure they are treated humanely.”
In an email to CBSMiami.com, one animal rights activist wrote, “Santa’s Enchanted Forest has been operating for 30 years and this marks the first time they have made a progressive, positive step towards preventing animal cruelty. We thank them for making this call to protect tigers and people alike,” wrote Wendy King.
King however doesn’t believe it’s enough. Activists such as herself plan to continue to protest and urge Santa’s Enchanted Forest to “end the use of all animal acts.” King wrote, “Our first protest of the season will be Saturday, November 5th.” According to the Santa’s website, the attraction also features a sea lion show and pig racing.
King, and other activists like herself, believe exotic animals belong in their natural habitats, not in cages.
In an article posted in the Miami New Times last year, the Tiger Encounter was described as 15-to-20 minute presentation designed to educate the public about the plight of tigers in the wild and the threats to its existence. The show was run by Felicia Frisco who grew up in a family of circus performers and has lived alongside exotic animals her whole life. She and her feline troupe tour Florida and perform their show at various venues across the state, but she won’t be seen at Santa’s Enchanted Forest this year.