Zookeeper Hospitalized After Tiger Attack

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A tiger mauled a zookeeper Saturday at the Topeka Zoo, according to a release from the city.

The attack happened after 9:15 a.m. when a 7-year tiger named Sanjiv "tackled" an unnamed female zookeeper.

The zookeeper, whom Wiley declined to name, citing her family's need for privacy, suffered "lacerations and punctures" to the back of the head, neck, back and arm.

Topeka city spokeswoman Mally Hadfield says the woman is stable and was moved Sunday to a different unit of the hospital.

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 official said a few visitors reportedly witnessed the attack.

The zoo was closed for approximately 45 minutes after the attack.

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The Topeka Zoo is reopened for normal business hours, however, the tigers are not on display Saturday. The remaining tigers, except Sanjiv, have since been allowed out of their holding cell.

Mr Wiley added Sumatran tigers were endangered.

He credited three "heroes" on the zoo's staff for handling the situation. Officials say there is no instance when a zookeeper and a tiger should be in the same area at the same time.

FILE PHOTO: Sumatran tigers are pictured before the play with leftover Christmas trees in the Tierpark Zoo in Berlin, Germany, January 4, 2019.

"Tigers are built to be powerful animals, and somehow, our staff person made it out of this alive", Wiley said.

In 2016, a male Malayan tiger killed a worker at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society in Florida.

Sumatran tigers normally weight between 165 and 308 pounds.