As I type this, Entertainment Tonight weighs in for the first time. No more Siegfried & Roy! Still, there are a couple of other bozos doing the same thing in Vegas.
As usual, the SD board has all the good answers. I am also inclined to the theory that something in the audience triggered some unknowable response in the animal, or even Roy himself behaved slightly differently.
I also accept that the tiger didn’t mean to kill him. With all the cats I’ve ever had (a lot) there were some “bitey” ones and some non “bitey” ones, but some things were automatic triggers for biting in a lot of them–like touching them in the middle of the back.
Some were quite vicious too, doing the “burrowing” action with the hind legs in addition to biting (a vestigial “disembowelling” reflex?) I would amuse myself by displaying the numerous track marks all over my forearm to my friends, occasionally.
But I know when a cat is biting because it means business, and none of the cats I’ve ever had did that, otherwise it would be stitches instead of scratches. Translated to 600 lbs. and it would be curtains.
It’s remarkable that they didn’t have safeguards, such as a man standing by with a .357 Magnum to terminate the tiger at close range.
For the record, I think using any animals for human entertainment is quite sick and those who participate should expect their just rewards. Anyone who equates using an animal in little better than a circus act is the least qualified to be boasting about his “love” for the animals or his “efforts at conservation.” He’s a freak-show host with enslaved animals as his freaks and would do better to admit it.