Florida zoo defends decision not to kill tiger that attacked keeper

Tiger at West Palm Beach Zoo, NBC News image
Tiger at West Palm Beach Zoo, NBC News image
Tiger at West Palm Beach Zoo, NBC News image

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A Florida zoo is defending its decision to tranquilize rather than kill a rare Malayan tiger that had attacked a keeper and was preventing rescuers from giving her aid.

Palm Beach Zoo President Andrew Aiken told a news conference Thursday that rescuers feared a bullet could ricochet off the steel and concrete enclosure and strike keeper Stacey Konwiser, whom the animal was standing over after the April 15 attack.

Aiken also said if the bullet didn’t instantly kill the animal, he may have attacked the 38-year-old keeper again. It took about 11 minutes to fully sedate the animal. Konwiser was taken to the hospital, where she died from a neck injury.

Aiken said it remains unknown why the veteran zookeeper entered the enclosure when she knew the tiger was inside.

Last week, the tiger that killed the zoo keeper received a death threat. Someone called the zoo threatening the animal.

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