Tomorrow night (October 8th) Animal Planet's Fatal Attractions returns to our screens, with five more cautionary tales of people who choose to live with wild, exotic animals despite the often deadly consequences.
The first story, A Tiger Loose in Harlem tells us of Antoine Yates who bought a pair of tiger and lion cubs to share his tiny Harlem apartment. Yates believed his home was a haven from the dangerous streets, but it was very nearly the last place he'd see. Antoine's beloved 500 pound tiger named Ming, attacked and nearly killed him, but he still hopes the two will be reunited.
"I want to bring Ming back and rekindle our relationship," said Yates. "I think about him always but I try to remain strong."
"Each story in this series is like a fable with a powerful moral," says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. "Except fables are deliberate fabrications meant to evoke meaningful lessons. In Fatal Attractions every story is real and gripping as we delve into the passions and the psychology that drive these deadly animal obsessions."
Vietnam veteran Karl Mitchell worked as a professional exotic animal trainer for a significant period of time, before his work and home life began to merge together as he started to interact with his tigers on a more personal level.
"They're deadly, yes," admitted Karl. "But they keep me going."
Karl has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and believes his tigers ground him by relieving the anxiety he suffers from his combat experience.
Donna Munson was not so lucky. The seventy-four year old had surrounded herself with animals for most of her life, from domestic strays to all kinds of wild life, including black bears which Donna considered to be non-threatening "pets." They frequently came around her house, which showed the physical toll in claw marks on the windows and walls, broken windows and scratched doors on her car. Donna's life came to an end the day she put her fate between an adult bear and a cub.
"When you're dealing with wild animals, you have to be ready for the worst case which will likely happen at some point." says Animal Planet's large predator expert Dave Salmoni. "Wild animals are exactly that ' wild; they are born with an instinct to attack, kill and stay alive, despite how much love they might get from humans. These people feel lucky to have an emotional bond with a dangerous animal, but it's only a matter of time until their luck runs out."
For more information on Animal Planet, or Fatal Attractions, please visit http://animal.discovery.com.
Photo credit: Animal Planet