A remarkable moment occurred during the reunion between a young woman and the tiger that nearly killed her.
During her recovery she could not speak, so her mother Kris spoke for her. Her mother said, “She had a laceration to her back, an ear laceration, her jaw is shattered, and just a lot of trauma to her neck."
The attack happened because Marissa forgot to drop a slide gate which would have prevented the tiger from entering the enclosure. Raja padded into the cage, and bit down on Marissa’s head.
But Marissa says she still doesn't believe Raja is vicious.
She said, "He was just doing what tiger's are supposed to do."
Tigers are powerful and unpredictable. One tiger went on a rampage in a village in India. Another tiger turned on a zookeeper while she was taking a photo. Famed tiger handler Roy Horn was partially paralyzed when one of his white tigers mauled him during a performance in 2003.
Incredibly, Marissa says her biggest fear during her recovery was that officials would kill her beloved big cat. Marissa says she and Raja share a special bond, even if it's one only she can understand.