The Palm Beach Zoo in Florida reopened on April 18, but authorities will continue the investigation on what really happened on that day a zoo keeper has died after being attacked by a tiger.

Stacey Konwiser, a lead keeper, was preparing the night house for the evening routine on April 15 when she was attacked by a 13-year-old endangered Malayan tiger. She was airlifted to St. Mary's Medical Center, but her injuries were too much to bear.

The Palm Beach Zoo staff and management gathered for a funeral service on April 16, in which spokeswoman, Naki Carter, announced that a fund has been created in honor of Konwiser.

Dubbed the Stacey Konwiser Conservation Fund, it aims to support the work that the perished lead keeper loved - to protect the animals, especially big cats.

Carter did not mention which of the tigers attacked, other than saying that it was a male and was never involved in previous attacks inside the zoo.

"The tiger is healthy, there is no threat to its welfare, the tiger's fate is not uncertain. We do everything we can to preserve the quality of life for the animals," she said.

The tiger is one of less than 250 Malayan tigers that still exist in the world. The zoo has four of these tigers, three males and one female, and serves as a breeding ground to ensure that the species would not become extinct.

Zoo officials confirmed that the tiger involved in the fatal attack will remain at the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society.

The 38-year-old zookeeper had extensive experience in managing big cats and they are still puzzled on why the tiger attacked her.

The management of the zoo is working with the family, including Konwiser's husband, Jeremy, who also works at the zoo. He said that human beings and animals lost a wonderful friend.

Zoo officials are working in partnership with several agencies, including the West Palm Beach Police, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Florida Fish and Welfare officials to investigate the attack.

Photo: Mike Fisher | Flickr

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