TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — City officials say a tiger mauled a zookeeper at the Topeka Zoo in northeastern Kansas.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when a Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv tackled the worker in an enclosed outdoor space.
Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the zookeeper suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to her head, neck and back. Wiley says she was awake and alert when she was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was in stable condition Saturday afternoon.
The zoo was open at the time of the attack and was witnessed by some people. It reopened about 45 minutes after the attack.
Tiger attacks zookeeper in Kansas Topeka, Kan. — The director of the Topeka Zoo says a zookeeper who was attacked by a Sumatran tiger remains in intensive care, but her prognosis for recovery is good. The zookeeper was attacked Saturday while in the outdoor tiger habitat of Sanjiv, a 7-year-old male tiger.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports zoo director Brendan Wiley said the zookeeper was talking Saturday night. Wiley said she remained in intensive care Sunday, but could be transferred out of the unit soon.
Wiley said the zoo is conducting an investigation and will determine what protocol changes might be needed after talking to the injured employee.
Wiley said the zoo might have a psychologist onsite Monday for any staff members to talk to if needed, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. “It will be more of a normal day once we know our team member is on the way to a good recovery,” he added.
The tiger tackled the trainer in its outdoor habitat, Wiley said. She suffered lacerations and punctures to the back of her head, neck and back. Wiley said there was “no consideration” to euthanize the tiger, which was back on display Sunday.
The incident, which lasted under 10 minutes, occurred while the zoo was open to the public and others witnessed it. Molly Hadfield, a spokesperson for the city of Topeka, told CBS News the zoo shut down for 45 minutes, which at that time the lion was placed in a holding area.
According to the zoos Facebook page, the tiger was transferred to Topeka from the Akron Zoo in 2017. Wiley said Sanjiv recently fathered four critically endangered cubs.