Sadly, Stacey Konwiser is dead. The beloved zookeeper was killed in a violent tiger attack on Friday in Palm Beach, Florida. Police are investigating why the keeper was mauled to death in the animal attack. Meanwhile, footage surfaced a day later of a visitor caught on tape jumping into another zoo’s tiger enclosure to retrieve a hat she dropped. Her “moronic” antics enraged other zoo-goers who were stunned at the message her act sent to children.
Konwiser, 38, who was known as the “Tiger Whisperer,” was mauled to death by a 13-year-old male Malayan tiger housed at the zoo. It is one of four housed at the property.
The keeper was killed while she prepared for a presentation called “Tiger Talk,” according to the Guardian. The site of the fatal attack was in an enclosure that was not in view of zoo visitors. The woman was transferred to a local hospital and later pronounced dead from her wounds.
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) April 17, 2016
The tiger’s attack of the zookeeper comes on the heels of two noteworthy news stories. According to a WWF report (Panda), conservation efforts are working to save big cats. The Global Tiger Forum (or GTF) said wild tiger population numbers are rising; the latest numbers have been revised to 3,890.
The earlier tally was 3,210. Sources attribute increased awareness and protection measures to the thriving species.
The other story, like the current one in Florida, is dismal — shocking even. According to a Sun report, a day after news emerged of Konwiser’s death, a video surfaced that showed a woman’s foolhardy dance with death.
A person recorded the disturbing moment a woman jumped into a tiger’s enclosure in Toronto, Canada. The tape shows the woman leaping into a shallow ravine after she lost her hat. The only thing that stood between her and the agitated tiger was a thin fence. Thankfully, she escaped before the cat could scale the fence and do her harm.
A man who recorded the moment on his mobile phone is heard saying, “What is going on?” Then, two other patrons verbally chastise the woman for the reckless decision that placed her in danger. They repeatedly called her a “moron” while her partner tried to calm them down, to no avail. The men, one pushing a stroller, were angered because children were present and disturbed by the woman’s act.
Watch tiger charge at woman after she jumps in to zoo enclosure to pick up her hat:
Many of us have items of… https://t.co/lHx1BxVR3U
— UK News (@UKNewsOne) April 17, 2016
A spokesperson talked to reporters about the harrowing moment.
“It was very irresponsible of this individual to jump over the boardwalk and (she) could have easily injured herself by exciting the animal in this way. The situation could have been much worse.”
The deadly animal attack in Florida caused an outpouring of protests over safety and security at zoos. It’s unclear why the woman was attacked and killed by the tiger, but critics say the death didn’t have to happen.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund issued a statement over the incident. The agency petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (or USDA) to amend policies and impose maximum penalties to prevent future attacks and fatalities.
“As long as employees are allowed to work in dangerously close proximity to tigers, elephants, and other dangerous animals, a significant risk of serious injury or death persists. Deaths and serious injury are preventable, and safety regulations are an important piece of keeping zookeepers and employees who have close contact with dangerous animals safe.”
A zoo official says the keeper’s death by tiger is the first in its 60-year history. And while they do not blame the animal — it was only acting on instinct — the tiger’s fate is unclear.
[Png Studio Photography/Shutterstock]