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Tiger mauls keeper at Topeka Zoo

Posted: 3:52 PM, Apr 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-20 21:50:00Z
Topeka Zoo tiger attack.jpg

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

The 7-year-old male Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv attacked the keeper in a secure outdoor space in view of the public.

She suffered cuts and puncture wounds to her head, neck, back and an arm, which required surgery.

The attack occurred around 9:15 a.m. and forced the zoo to close until around 11 a.m., according to Topeka’s NBC affiliate KSNT.

Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley said the zookeeper was awake and alert when she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. She reportedly was in critical condition, KSNT said.

The zookeeper's name has not been released. City officials said Saturday afternoon she remained hospitalized in stable condition at 3:30 p.m., according to the city of Topeka.

She was stable after surgery, city spokeswoman Molly Hadfield told 41 Action News.

City spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said several zoo patrons witnessed the attack.

"The male Sumatran tiger, Sanjiv, simply reacted the way that is normal for a tiger to do," Wiley said. "There is absolutely no consideration of euthanizing the tiger."

Wiley said the zoo will complete its investigation and "review all policies and procedures around tiger management at the zoo" during the next few days.

"If we need to make updates to our current procedures, we will most certainly do that ...," Wiley said. "Right now, our focus is on our injured team member. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."

Sanjiv came to the Topeka Zoo in August 2017 from a zoo in Akron, Ohio. He is part of a breeding program.

The Associated Press also contributed to this report.