Tabatha?s once bitten twice shy



IT'S been nearly four years since Tabatha Lidster had her finger bitten off by a chimpanzee at the Rockhampton Zoo, but she still remembers every vivid detail of the day.

At the time the 27-year-old Rockhampton woman was volunteering at the zoo as a keeper.

She was preparing one of the chimpanzee's milkshake meals when she was told it would be okay to touch him on the lips.

"I didn't get to pat him because he bit my finger,'' she said.

"He bit right through the bone and spat it out on the ground.''

Today, her index finger is no more than a nub and it is still very sensitive.

But Ms Lidster does not blame the animal, named Occy, who she still longs to see.

"I haven't really seen him for a long time,'' she said.

"I miss him dearly.''

And the chimp remembers the incident too, she said.

Now whenever she goes back to the zoo and visits the monkey cage, Occy will not go near her.

"We had a bond before it happened,'' she said.

Ms Lidster, who has recently settled a lawsuit with the zoo to cover her physical losses, said she would like to go back in the cage with Occy as rehabilitation.

But she said it has never been possible.

"I absolutely love animals,'' she said.

"I would love to work at the zoo again.''

But the accident has not left her without scars, both physical and emotional.

She said she has a new respect for the animal after the incident.

"I suppose I learned even if the animal seems completely domesticated you have to know that it is not.



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