Zookeeper attacked by Tiger in Topeka, Kansas – CBS42.com

Zookeeper attacked by Tiger in Topeka, Kansas - CBS42.com

Human error may have led to tiger attack on Kansas zookeeper

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The zoo identified the victim of Saturdays attack as longtime employee Kristyn Hayden-Ortega, who has been with them since 2001, director Brendan Wiley said.

“The process that we are really looking at, that we are trying to correct is, How can we minimize the potential for human error?” Wiley said. “We need to find that way and minimize the possibility of human error creating an event like this.”

But earlier in his meeting with reporters, Wiley said the zoo has found no problems with the tiger enclosure — designed to keep animals safely apart from their human keepers.

The zoo hasnt interviewed Hayden-Ortega yet and will wait until shes further along in her recovery, according to Wiley. She was recently moved out of the intensive care unit.

“We were 100 percent confident in the infrastructure of that facility when we put tigers back in later that same day. We have no question about the integrity of the space or the environment.”

Zoo employees saved Hayden-Ortega from further injury or death by showing Sanjiv his food bucket and calling his name, which lured the big cat safely away.

But had Sanjiv kept attacking Hayden-Ortega, the zoo had a 30.06-caliber hunting rifle aimed at him and was ready to fire.

“If that tiger would have taken one more turn back toward Kristyn, it would have been lethal force used to stop that aggression,” Wiley said.

“She is a very important member of our zookeeper staff. Shes a leader. She is one of our most experienced keepers. She helps teach the less-experienced keepers.”

Posted in Topeka