A zoo in Topeka, Kansas had only just opened on Saturday morning when a harrowing incident occurred involving a tiger. Zoo guests were just starting to flow in when a female zookeeper entered the outdoor habitat that is home to Sanjiv, a 7-year-old Sumatran tiger. The trainer was familiar with Sanjiv and had worked with him for several years. However, on this particular day, the tiger was not pleased upon her arrival. He tackled her to the ground, trapping her there. For nearly 10 minutes, the zookeeper was attacked while in the view of the public, according to CBS News.
The 911 call rolled in at 9:30 a.m., reporting that a staff member was being attacked within the tiger habitat. Eventually, other staff members were able to lure the animal into an enclosed area. At this point, emergency personnel were able to get to the injured zookeeper and rush her to the hospital. She was seriously injured, sustaining lacerations and puncture wounds from the tiger’s teeth on her neck, back, and head. Thankfully, the trainer is now in stable condition and will survive the incident.
Zoo director Brendan Wiley is giving an update on the tiger attack now. He said that the keeper is in stable condition. But that’s all they know about her condition. He did confirm that they will NOT euthanize the tiger pic.twitter.com/faTJZItLll
— Reina Garcia KSNT (@ReinaKSNT) April 20, 2019
A spokesperson for the Topeka Zoo said that there wasn’t anything unusual about the initial interaction the zookeeper had with the tiger on this particular day. On a daily basis, the trainer enters that enclosure to clean and maintain it, as well as put out food for the tiger. She was the primary keeper of the tiger and well familiar with him. They did not state what exactly was different about this instance that caused the animal to pounce. However, they did emphasize that the animal behaved in a way that is in its nature.
“The male Sumatran tiger, Sanjiv, simply reacted the way that is normal for a tiger to do,” said Brendan Wiley, the director of the Topeka Zoo.
Zoo officials did not even momentarily think of putting down Sanjiv as a result of Saturday morning’s incident. There was “no consideration” of euthanizing the tiger, stated Wiley. However, the incident remains under investigation.
On their Facebook page, the zoo introduced Sanjiv to their facility back in 2017.
“Sanjiv, a male Sumatran tiger, joined us at the Topeka Zoo this evening as a recommendation from AZA’s Species Survival Plan. He comes from the Akron Zoo and we’re very excited to welcome him to his new home. It will be a little bit before guests are able to see this handsome boy but we will provide you with updates.”