13-year-old Malayan tiger kills Florida zookeeper

By @vitthernandez on
Stacey Konwiser
Stacey Konwiser, lead zookeeper of the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida. Facebook

Last week, two zoo animals captured the attention of the world, one for being extremely cute, and the other for being crafty. Videos of Australian koala joey Harry from the Symbio Wildlife Park in Australia became viral as the young koala show cuteness by seeking cuddles, belly rubs and tickles from his zookeeper.

Then there was Inky, the octopus from the New Zealand National Aquarium who gained global fame for his notorious escape to freedom from a cage. On Friday, it was neither cute nor cunning, but claws that likely came out from a 13-year-old Malayan tiger that killed Stacey Konwiser, lead zookeeper of the Palm Beach Zoo in Florida.

The New York Post reports that the big cat killed Konwiser while inside an off-limits area to the public. Naki Carter, spokeswoman of the zoo, describes Konwiser as a tiger whispherer. “The spoke to each other in a language that only they could understand. And I can’t put into words or make you understand for anyone who didn’t know Stacey how much she loved those tigers and how much this zoo family loved her.”

After the attack, the zookeepers tranquilised the tiger and waited for the drugs to take effect before they could enter the off-limit area to reach the zookeeper, whose husband, Jeremy, is also a trainer in the same zoo.

The Malayan tiger is part of the rare 250 tigers left in the world and the zoo’s breeding programme. The tiger is one of four owned by the zoo, the three others are one female and two more males.

Palm Beach Zoo Tiger The Malayan tiger is part of the rare 250 tigers left in the world and the zoo’s breeding programme.  Facebook

Carter said on Sunday that the Palm Beach Zoo would reopen at 9 am on Monday, April 18. After the attack, the zoo was closed for the weekend. The tiger has recovered from the tranquilizer and remains with the zoo, reports ABC.

In a statement, Jeremy says “human beings and animals lost a wonderful friend.” Carter adds that it would not be “business as usual” for the zoo because “We’ve lost a member of our family.”

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