Published: Sun, April 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Tiger attacks and mauls zookeeper in Topeka, Kansas

Tiger attacks and mauls zookeeper in Topeka, Kansas

A attractive spring morning at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas turned tragic Saturday when a male Sumatran tiger attacked a keeper, inflicting wounds that sent her to a hospital.

Somehow, the seven-year-old male tiger named Sanjiv entered the habitat, which is never supposed to happen when a person is present, Mr Wiley said. The female keeper, whose name has not yet been released, is in stable condition, but she suffered "lacerations and punctures" to her back, neck, head and arm, Wiley said.

The zookeeper was transported to a local hospital where she received treatment.

The zookeeper was "alert and awake" at the time she was taken to the hospital, Hadfield said.

While a city official say the animal and the zookeeper were in the "same space", she could not specify what caused the attack. The other tigers at the zoo were put into their enclosure before being let back out.

"There really isn't a circumstance where they should have been in the same space, so there was some sort of error that occurred here", he said.

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The zoo said a complete investigation will be conducted over the next several days that will review all policies and procedures around tiger management at the zoo. Sumatran tigers are a "critically rare" and "endangered" species, Wiley said.

The tiger was placed into a holding area and the tigers would not be on display for the rest of the day, Hadfield said.

The director credited his staff with a speedy and effective response that got the incident under control within 10 minutes. Elephant staff members were a short distance away and were able to lure the tiger back into its enclosure, where he was secured.

"Some of our staff witnessed some things that you hope you go through a career without witnessing", Wiley said.

City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield says the zoo was open at the time of the attack and was witnessed by some people.

The zoo, which closed for 45 minutes, has since been reopened, she said.

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