Longtime zookeeper, Stacey Konwiser, 37, has died after being attacked by a tiger at Palm Beach Zoo, in Florida.
Konwiser was flown by helicopter to St. Mary’s Medical Center to treat a “severe bite.” Konwiser later succumbed to her injury at the medical center.
The incident occurred while she was going about her daily tasks at the facility, shortly before 2pm on April 15 . Konwiser passed less than three hours after. Exactly what transpired is still unclear.
The offending feline is a male Malayan tiger, one of the four that reside at the Palm Beach Zoo. Malayan tigers, natives to the Malaysian peninsula, are considered critically endangered.
According to the West Palm Beach Police Department, personnel had to wait before a tranquilizer took effect on the tiger before providing aide to Konwiser.
Speaking to the Palm Beach Post, Naki Carter, a spokesperson for the zoo said that Konwiser was very knowledgable about tigers and loved them dearly.
“This is the first death at the hands of an animal in the history of the Palm Beach Zoo,” said Carter. Konwiser’s husband is also a zookeeper.
“There are no words to describe,” said Carter, zoo spokeswoman. “We’ve lost a family member. This is a family that is in mourning right now.”
Palm Beach Zoo will be shut down through Saturday and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be visiting the facility.