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15 Animal Trainers Who Got What They Deserved

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15 Animal Trainers Who Got What They Deserved


Wild animals are wild for a reason. Well, lots of reasons actually, but one of the main ones isn that they can, and will, kill you. The big ones anyway. It is not that they don’t like you; they simply operate with a different set of rules than we do. Sometimes they kill us because they are hungry, sometimes they do it because they are scared or angry (which is the whole “fight or flight” thing), and sometimes they don’t even mean to kill us, they are simply just trying to get us to leave them alone. Is that really too much to ask?

But still, even though this is a simple truth- that wild animals can, and will, mess us up, there are still all sorts of people that want to get close to, and work with, the animals. Sometimes they work with them at zoos, or they train the animals to be “entertainers.” One guy on this list even started a non-profit around bears and went and hung out with them all the time, like he was just another bear. Until one of them ate him.

And that is kind of the crux of the whole thing here. These are wild animals. Huge ones, actually, that can kill us pretty much any time they want. A lot of these trainers took these animals’ kindness for weakness and because of that, a lot of them died.  Hey, have you ever heard the expression “Don’t poke the bear in the cage?” Well don’t. Or you just might regret it. Here now are 15 animal trainers that messed around with animals, and got exactly what they deserved.

15. Tilikum, Killer Whale – Killed 3 People


Tilikum does not play around. He is the largest killer whale in captivity. He was captured in 1983, and apparently has been kind of mad about it ever since. How can we tell? Well he keeps killing people. The first was 21-year-old biology student Keltie Byrne. Tilikum and a couple other killer whales kept pushing her under and not letting her up until she drowned. Next was 27-year-old man Daniel Dukes, who sneaked into the park at night to enter the pool where Tilikum was. Bad idea dude. He was found the next morning dead, draped over Tilikum’s back.  The whale then killed a 40-year-old trainer by dragging her underwater by the arm during a live show called Dine With Shamu. Sounds fun, right? Ahhh, not so much. Witnesses stated the pool “quickly turned red.”

14. Bear Kills “Grizzly Man”


Timothy Treadwell was a bear enthusiast, environmentalist, amateur naturalist, eco-warrior and documentary film maker. He loved bears. I mean he loved them a lot. If you don’t believe me check out the movie Grizzly Man, which tells the story of Treadwell spending his summers with the bears, getting all close, and loving on them and showing how great they are. All seemed to be going pretty well until one of them ate him. Check out some of the most chilling audio you will ever hear here. Do I feel bad for him? Of course I do, but seriously – LEAVE THE BEARS ALONE! People always think they are special, that they alone understand wild animals, until sadly they often find they do not understand them nearly as well as they think.

13. Tiger Bites One Half Of Flamboyant Duo



Siegfried and Roy were a very flamboyant pair of Vegas performers that somehow became incredibly famous. At one point Roy was bitten on the neck by one of their prize pets, a 600-pound tiger named Montecore, which supposedly left Roy paralyzed. Roy says differently though… He says he suffered a stroke and fell down, and the bite wound came from Montecore trying to pick him up and take care of him. According to Entertainment Tonight:  “I got a stroke and I fell down, and I see these blue eyes staring looking at me,” said Roy. “I was like, ‘What now? What happened?’ He picked me up by the neck and got me to the side so he’d know I’d be safe — like a mother with a cub. He took care of me.” All right Roy, we believe you. Not.

12. Bear That Was In Will Ferrell Movie Kills Trainer


Stephan Miller, a 28-year-old animal trainer and stunt double was killed by Rocky, a 5- year-old grizzly bear, who was well over 7′ tall and weighed 700 pounds. I am not entirely sure but I also assume he had huge teeth and enormous claws. Kids, if you are reading this at home, don’t get too close to wild animals that are 7′ tall, weigh 700 pounds, and have enormous teeth and claws. Rocky bit Miller on the neck, and he died almost instantly. Rocky was best known for his appearance as “Dewey the Killer Bear,” in the movie Semi-Pro, in which he wrestled with a Will Ferrell stunt double. In fact, when Miller died he was wrestling the bear. Rocky was not put to death, because hey, who is stupid enough to wrestle a bear anyway?

11. Zookeeper Mauled By Pack Of Wolves


This one is kind of a sad one, but again underscores the point that no matter how close you think you are to wild animals, you never really are, especially if you are dealing with a pack of wolves. An unnamed zookeeper, at Kolmarden Wildlife Park, Sweden’s largest zoo, was killed by a pack of wolves when she entered their cage.  There were 8 wolves in the pack in total, and the woman had been working with them since they were puppies. So they were tight, right? Well, no.  Her body was discovered only after other zoo employees pushed the wolves back. She had entered the cage alone. Maybe she did that trick during fetch where you pretend to throw the ball, and then just hide it behind your back? Wolves hate that trick.

10. Elephant Goes Crazy During Festival, Kills Trainer


What sounds more fun than an awesome festival on the streets that has a big huge elephant in it? Well, all sorts of things really, I get that, but if you are in India it probably would sound a little cooler, what with tradition and all that. One thing that does not sound cool, though, is that same elephant losing its mind and going crazy and killing its trainer while terrorizing the rest of the village. Well, that is exactly what happened in the town of Kerala, where an elephant injured 20 onlookers and killed its trainer. So the onlookers can figure out how not to get killed by the elephant, but the trainer can’t? Some of these people actually need to look up the word “trainer” as it is very apparent that they really do not get the true meaning of it.

9. Lion Kills Zookeeper


Sometimes it is just better to stay retired. Sure, the days drag from time to time.  I know it probably gets a little dull, but hey, at least you are not mauled by lions. Not often anyway. A 63-year-old South African zookeeper, who was retired and taking it easy, was convinced to come back because the zoo where he worked did not have enough staff. Bad idea. During feeding time he was attacked by an 11-year-old lion. It was said that security gates were left open, which is never really a good idea when dealing with lions, especially if you are throwing them food. His co-workers heard screams and found the zookeeper with a bite to the neck. He was rushed to the hospital to no avail as he was dead on arrival.

8. Steve Irwin Killed By Stingray


I know, I know. Irwin was not actually training the stingray that killed him. But still, he died because he spent a lifetime not respecting how dangerous how all the animals were that he was messing around with. How many times did we see him messing around with a crocodile or a huge snake?  In fact, he died filming a series called Ocean’s Deadliest. Go figure. When he came across an 8-foot-wide stingray he actually found out that what he was talking about was in fact true. The stingray stabbed Irwin hundreds of times in his chest. Now again, is this sad? Yes, of course it is. Was it totally preventable? Yup. Irwin wanted to become rich and famous by showing the rest of us how brave he was around dangerous creatures that the rest of us knew enough to stay away from. Which is why he died.

7. Tiger Kills Tiger Whisperer


Palm Beach Zoo Lead Keeper Stacey Konwiser, 38, was known as a “tiger whisperer” and supposedly spoke to tigers in a language that only they could understand. But whatever she was whispering was apparently not taken the way she meant it to be.  She was killed by a tiger that she had supposedly “dedicated her life to.” Apparently she was really into her job:  “this is an endangered species that Stacey dedicated her life to,” zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said, adding that she “had a passion for this job.” Not to be callous, but the whole tiger whisperer thing is a huge part of the problem in the first place. Hey, guess what? None of us can whisper to tigers, and in fact, once people start thinking they can do so is exactly when they get killed.

6. Killer Whale Kills Trainer


All right, so we have a surprise; a killer whale killed someone and it wasn’t Tilikum. This time it was a whale called Keto that decided to let his trainer know he was not interested in putting on a show. Keto did this in the most direct way possible, by killing his trainer. Now I feel bad for Alexis Martinez- it had to be horrible when Keto used his nose to push him to the bottom of the pool and drag him around until he was bloody and dead, but hey, did anyone ever think that maybe these whales don’t want to be in a show at all? And that maybe they also don’t want to be captives? Oh yeah, and then the final part, that maybe they call them killer whales for a reason? Keto held Martinez underwater for three minutes, then came back up holding his limp body.

5. Wild Horse Kicks Trainer In The Head


Now this one might seem like it was just an accident at first, and hey I am sure it was, but the thing is, why does a wild horse have a trainer in the first place? Leave them alone, maybe?  The whole thing sounds kind of fishy anyway; it sounds less like an animal accident and more like a mafia hit. According to this : “Horse trainer Charlynn Taketa, 62, was taking one of her two thoroughbred horses to a hot walker shortly after 7 a.m. when she was kicked in the head by a loose horse. She died about half an hour later according to her husband who was nearby when the accident occurred.” So a loose horse just rolled up and kicked Charlynn in the head? Well, maybe she didn’t get what she deserved and it was just an odd accident.

4. Snake Kills A Really Bad Snake Charmer


So I am not a huge expert in this kind of thing, but I sort of assume that a good snake charmer is somewhat charming to the snake that he is working with. Isn’t that the whole point? Ali Khan Samsudin was known as the “Snake King” because of all his stunts involving snakes. In one such stunt he put himself in a locked  room with 400 cobras. He did this every day for 40 days straight. Pretty cool, right? Well, no. He soon met a snake who did not find him charming at all and, you know, killed him. He died in 2006 after being bitten by a cobra in front of fans. It is amazing how none of these idiots ever realize that sooner or later their luck is going to run out.

3. Circus Elephant Kills Trainer


Guess what is worse than a startled elephant? Well, for one unnamed elephant trainer in Pennsylvania, pretty much nothing. Apparently the elephant became startled after coming into contact with some electrical wires, and kicked its trainer, sending him flying into the air and, of course, killing him. Supposedly he went about 20 feet. Getting kicked by an elephant is usually tantamount to a death sentence. Have you seen their feet? I am telling you, they are kind of big. Now of course this was an accident, but was it an accident that the elephant was held captive in a small area around loose electrical wires? No, I think that that was pretty much on purpose. This “accident” was just another case of a trainer getting what he deserved.

2. Two Bears Kill One Trainer


What does “living out your dreams” mean to you? Does it mean being mauled by two grizzly bears? No? Me either, but apparently this was not true for Benjamin Cloutier.  According to this article: “Benjamin Cloutier didn’t let anything get in the way of his happiness.  The 24-year-old was working as an animal trainer and enjoying the open space and majestic views of Big Sky country.But Benjamin Cloutier’s dreams were abruptly cut short when he was mauled to death by two 500-pound grizzly bears.”  Okay, I have to beg to differ on this one.  Unless Ben’s dreams involved being mauled to death by two, (yes I said two) 500-pound bears, then I am going have to call B.S on the whole thing. Ben was yet another animal trainer who was not that great at the whole training part of things. His body was found “terribly mangled.”

1. Tiger Kills Trainer On Stage


I can explain this one, and I will, but if you can handle it, just check out this video. Alexander Crispin was a tiger trainer who was doing his routine with the tiger on stage with a traveling circus when the tiger lunged at him and messed him up badly- so badly that he in fact died. We have been over this and over this, but seriously? Yes, it is sad that the guy died, but I mean, the guy was messing around with captive tigers on stage…for money. Think about that literally. It is stupid, it is wrong, and it is seriously dangerous. If you do things that are stupid, wrong, and dangerous, then you might have bad things happen to you. And you know what? You would deserve those bad things happening to you as well. Sorry.

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