Zookeeper hospitalized after tiger attack at Topeka Zoo

Saul Bowman
April 21, 2019

City officials say a tiger mauled a zookeeper at the Topeka Zoo in northeastern Kansas.

Hadfield said she could not speak to the fate of Sanjiv, who arrived at the zoo in 2017, but said there was no plan the euthanize the tiger at this point.

The Topeka Zoo is reopened for normal business hours, however, the tigers are not on display Saturday. She was awake and alert when she was taken by ambulance to a hospital, Wiley said, adding that she was in stable condition on Saturday afternoon.

The zookeeper suffered "lacerations and punctures to the back of the head, neck, back and one arm", Wiley told reporters.

"If we need to make updates to our current procedures, we will most certainly do that", Wiley said. "We had a keeper and tiger in the same space".

"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. Officials say there is no instance when a zookeeper and a tiger should be in the same area at the same time.

The 7-year-old tiger in question, named Sanjiv, and others were put into holding cells. Sumatran tigers are a "critically rare" and "endangered" species, Wiley said.

The director credited his staff with a speedy and effective response that got the incident under control within 10 minutes.

The zoo was closed for 45 minutes after the attack and its six tigers, including Sanjiv and his four cubs, were kept in their pen.

A few zoo visitors were present and witnessed the attack.

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