A zookeeper is now in stable condition after sustaining multiple injuries from an attack by one of the facility’s Sumatran tigers. While the event was unfortunate, the facility is not considering euthanizing the tiger.
Tiger Attack At The Zoo
Shortly after the Topeka Zoo opened on Saturday morning, a zookeeper was attacked by 7-year-old Sumatran tiger, Sanjiv. The zookeeper ended up with lacerations and punctures in the head, back, arm, and neck, and was immediately transported to a local hospital for treatment. According to a spokesperson for the City of Topeka, the zookeeper was awake and alert when she was taken to the hospital, and is now in a stable condition.
Evidently, the zookeeper was the primary carer for the tigers, and it was a part of her job to maintain the tiger habitat daily. She had been working in the space for years, but on the morning of the attack, by some error, she and the tiger ended up together in the habitat when the tiger should not have been there at the time. According to Zoo Director Brendan Wiley, it was never intended for her and the tiger to be in the space together.
The attack occurred inside the tiger habitat and was witnessed by several guests, which led to the zoo being briefly closed.
Wiley clarified that the zoo is not intending to euthanize Sanjiv as a result of the incident. Sanjiv is a rare and critically endangered Sumatran tiger, and according to Wiley, Sanjiv only did what wild animals do.
Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies, and are considered critically endangered. In fact, less than 400 of the species remain alive in the forests of Sumatra. Illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict are some of the main threats to the survival of Sumatran tigers.
In Indonesia, anyone caught hunting tigers could face fines and jail time, but poaching and illegal trade for tiger parts and products continue to occur.