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Tiger attacks and mauls zookeeper in Topeka, Kansas

21 April 2019

A Sumatran Tiger kept at the Topeka Zoo in Kansas attacked a keeper on Saturday morning, sending her to the hospital.

Sanjiv the Sumatran tiger prior to her move to the Topeka Zoo.

The woman was taken to the hospital and was awake and alert, according Molly Hadfield with the city of Topeka.

Addressing the incident during a press conference, Zoo Director Brendan Wiley shared that at about 9:15 a.m., shortly after the zoo opened, a female staff member was attacked by a 7-year-old male Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv. She suffered lacerations and punctures to the back of her head, neck and back.

"There was an error there", he added.

The zoo said a complete investigation will be conducted over the next several days that will review all policies and procedures around tiger management at the zoo. Wiley said he did not know the extent of her injuries.

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"Sanjiv, this morning, did exactly what a tiger would when something comes into its territory". Officials say there is no instance when a zookeeper and a tiger should be in the same area at the same time.

'The person attacked by the tiger is in critical condition'. The tiger fathered four cubs past year, Wiley said.

The director credited his staff with a speedy and effective response that got the incident under control within 10 minutes.

The entire Zoo was closed for approximately 45 minutes before all but the tiger enclosure was reopened.

The official said a few visitors reportedly witnessed the attack.