Zoo Keeper Injured In Attack By Rare Sumatran Tiger In US

Sanjiv a male tiger at the Topeka Zoo

Sanjiv a male tiger at the Topeka Zoo

A representative from the Topeka Zoo says a male tiger injured a female keeper Saturday morning.

The woman was taken to the hospital and was awake and alert, according Molly Hadfield with the city of Topeka. The zookeeper's name has not been released. Wiley says the tiger will not be euthanized. The zoo was briefly closed, but has subsequently reopened.

The zoo was open when the attack happened, and witnesses immediately reported it to zoo authorities.

"It was all right there- kind of on the other side of the glass - if you can picture viewing that at our tiger viewing window", Wiley said.

Sanjiv came to the Topeka Zoo in August 2017 from a zoo in Akron, Ohio. The tiger fathered four cubs past year, Wiley said.

Some visitors also saw Sanjiv injure the worker, who suffered lacerations and punctures to her head and neck, and also was wounded on her back and an arm, he said.

Wiley added that Sanjiv responded as any tiger would when something intruded on its territory, and said it was an unspecified error that led the unnamed employee to being in the tiger's space. Over the next several months, he was introduced to their female tiger, Jingga, and, in October, they welcomed four cubs. She's now in stable condition, Wiley said.

A Sumatran Tiger at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

While a city official say the animal and the zookeeper were in the "same space", she could not specify what caused the attack. Sumatran tigers are critically endangered, and only about 400 remain in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

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