Big Cats As Friends: Biting the Hand--Or Worse

Their predatory prowess notwithstanding, big cats were not born to be man eaters--mostly because they were never intended to bump up against humans. But take them out of the wild and into civilization, and bad things will happen, as a handful of messy recent episodes have shown.

The most notorious man-vs.-cat calamity happened last October between Montecore, a 7-year-old white male tiger, and magician Roy Horn, half of the team Siegfried & Roy. Montecore turned on Horn during a performance, severely mauling him. Both man and tiger have retired, though they recently had a careful rapprochement at the magicians' wildlife...