Woman's kiss of life saves tiger cub
Allan Hall, Berlin
February 2, 2008
A YOUNG mother saved a four-month-old tiger by giving it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Janine Bauer, 24, watched in horror at a zoo in Germany as the tiger cub began to choke on meat he had been gnawing.
Mrs Bauer was with her one-year-old son Johann at Halle Zoo in eastern Germany when she saw the tiger falling unconscious as it gagged on its food.
"In front of my eyes it passed out as it struggled to breathe," said the trainee doctor. "My son and I were so upset because he is such a beautiful creature."
Another zoo visitor, Torsten Westphal, reached over into the enclosure and grabbed the cub while fully grown adult tigers prowled nearby.
"I tried sticking my fingers down his throat to dislodge the meat but that didn't work at first," said Mrs Bauer.
"Then I fiddled about a bit until I got a bit of flesh about 10 centimetres in size across and pulled it out.
"But he still wasn't breathing. I massaged his heart and then I did what I would do for humans — mouth to mouth resuscitation. It was just like trying to bring a human baby back to life. It went on for about four minutes.
"Then the tiger spluttered and coughed. He stood up dazed and weak. By then some zookeepers had arrived and we delivered him into their arms."
Mr Westphal said: "The tiger would be dead if not for her."
The zoo agreed and made Mrs Bauer an honorary sponsor and named the tiger cub Johann.