Condition of Topeka zookeeper attacked by tiger improving

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TOPEKA, KS (WIBW/KWCH/AP) Sunday April 21. 2019

Sanjiv the Sumatran tiger prior to her move to the Topeka Zoo. (Courtesy: Akron Zoo)

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.

The woman has worked at the zoo since 2002 and has several years of experience with tigers.

Wiley said the zoo is conducting an investigation and will determine what protocol changes might be needed after talking to the injured employee.

The zoo has no plans to euthanize Sanjiv, who was back on display Sunday.
A Topeka Zookeeper was injured after being attacked by a tiger Saturday morning.

RELATED: Tiger attacks employee at Topeka Zoo

According to Zoo Director Brendan Wiley, the keeper suffered injuries, lacerations and puncture wounds to the back of her head, neck, and one arm. She was reportedly awake and alert when she was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition at this time.

Wiley is not releasing the name of the keeper, however, he noted she was the tiger's primary keeper.

According to Wiley, the keeper and Sanjiv were both in the outdoor tiger enclosure at the same time when the attack occurred. The keeper does regularly go into the enclosure to clean up after the tigers.

"There was an error there," he added.

Zoo officials are not considering euthanizing Sanjiv, calling the incident "very unfortunate." Wiley said the Sumatran tiger, "did what a wild tiger does."

The Zoo has reached out to Associated of Zoos and Aquariums about the incident and Wiley said they plan to review their policies and procedures in response to the attack.

A few zoo visitors were present and witnessed the attack.

The entire Zoo was closed for approximately 45 minutes before all but the tiger enclosure was reopened. The remaining tigers, except Sanjiv, have since been allowed out of their holding cell.

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