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The tiger, a 7-year-old Sumatran named Sanjiv, and the zookeeper were in an outdoor tiger habitat Saturday when about 9:15 a.m. he attacked her, said Molly Hadfield, a spokeswoman for the City of Topeka.
Once the keeper went into the space, he “tackled her,” said Brendan Wiley, the zoo’s director.
Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP, FILE
Sanjiv, the Topeka Zoo’s new Sumatran tiger, roams around his exhibit after being allowed in it for the first time on Thursday Aug. 10, 2017 in Topeka, Kan.
“A few people did see the attack,” Hadfield said.
The keeper, the primary tiger keeper, was not identified. She suffered cuts to the back of her head, neck and back and arm, Wiley said.
She was taken to a local hospital, Hadfield said, but appeared to be alert, awake and was in stable condition.“”He did what a wild tiger does.
No one else was injured.
Other workers lured Sanjiv back into an enclosed space in the zoo with his daily diet, Wiley said.
Wiley said had it not been for three heroes, “this could have been a very different outcome.”
Sanjiv, who recently fathered four cubs recently, will not be euthanized because, Wiley said, the tiger was just acting naturally.
“While this incident is very unfortunate, he did what a wild tiger does,” Wiley said.
The incident lasted about 10 minutes, he said.
The other tigers at the zoo were kept in holding, where they will be for the rest of the day, Hadfield said.
The zoo, which closed for 45 minutes, has since been reopened, she said.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing, Wiley said. The officials are hoping to speak to the zookeeper to find out what happened.