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Inquiry launched after tiger attacks and kills keeper at Florida zoo

Published 16/04/2016

Stacey Konwiser pictured smiling in March last year during the dedication of the new tiger habitat at the Palm Beach Zoo (AP)
Stacey Konwiser pictured smiling in March last year during the dedication of the new tiger habitat at the Palm Beach Zoo (AP)

A Malayan tiger attacked and killed a keeper at a Florida zoo.

Stacey Konwiser, 38, was killed by the 13-year-old male tiger on Friday in an enclosure known as the night house that is not visible to the public, Palm Beach Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said. It is where the tigers sleep and are fed.

The tiger was tranquillised and authorities had to wait until the sedative took effect before they could come to Ms Konwiser's aid, West Palm Beach police spokeswoman Lori Colombino said.

Media reports said guests were herded into the gift shop for a short time out of an abundance of caution. Police also confirmed that the tiger was in a contained area and guests were not at risk.

"At no time was any guest or visitor in danger. At no time was any animal loose," Ms Carter said.

The zoo remained closed on Friday, and Ms Carter said they will decide about Saturday later.

Zoo officials said Ms Konwiser's husband was also a zoo keeper there.

Grief counsellors were sent in for the staff, and zoo officials said they were reaching out to Ms Konwiser's family members, who live out of the state.

They declined to comment on whether there had been other incidents with the tiger.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said they planned to investigate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also investigating.

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From Belfast Telegraph