At about 2 p.m. on Friday, Lead Keeper of the Palm Beach Zoo Stacey Konwiser, 38, was attacked by a rare Malayan tiger. The attack occurred shortly before the zoo’s “Tiger Talk” show, in an enclosure set away from the general public. She died in the hospital later that same day.

The zoo is now closed, pending an investigation from OSHA and other authorities. There’s no confirmation as to what has happened to the tiger, though CBS 12 reports that zoo officials say it is being examined. At the time of the incident, the tiger was tranquilized, and other zoo personal had to wait until the sedative took effect before coming to Konwiser’s aid.

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Stacey Konwiser had been with the zoo for three years, and some called her the “tiger whisperer.” The zoo wrote on Facebook, “It is with great sadness the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society mourns the loss of our Lead Keeper Stacey Konwiser. The entire Palm Beach Zoo family is saddened beyond what words can describe at this incident and tragic outcome.”

The zoo is also emphasizing that there was no animal escape, and visitors were never in danger. They have made grief counselors available to staff, which includes Konwiser’s husband, who is also a keeper.

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Image via AP.


Contact the author at aimee.lutkin@jezebel.com.