Florida zookeeper dies after being attacked by tiger

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Tiger Mauls Zookeeper to Death at Florida Zoo

A tiger attacked and killed a zookeeper at the Palm Beach Zoo Friday, park officials said.

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Stacey Konwiser, a tiger expert at the zoo, died after a male Malayan tiger left her with critical injuries while she was tending to the animal in an enclosure, said Naki Carter, the zoo's public relations manager.

Konwiser, 38, was preparing for the daily 2 p.m. tiger show when she was attacked, Carter said.

Personnel tranquilized the tiger and then tended to Konwiser, who was transported to the hospital in critical condition, according to NBC affiliate WPTV. She later succumbed to her wounds.

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Konwiser "is someone that absolutely loved everything that had to do with keeping these tigers and seeing that they were enriched daily," Carter said during a news conference. She just passed her 3 year anniversary at the zoo.

"This was her specialty, she loved tigers," Carter said. "These keepers don't get into this business without the love for these animals and understanding the danger that's involved," she said.

"We've lost a family member," Carter said, offering condolences to Konwiser's husband, who she said is also a keeper at the zoo.

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Konwiser was doing tasks that she performed daily when the attack occurred, Carter said. "There was nothing out of the norm as far as what she was conducting at that time," she said. "A tragic incident occurred."

Grief counselors would be called in for staff, and the zoo would be closed through at least Saturday, Carter said. The zoo has three male tigers and one female tiger.

Malayan tigers are endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Carter said there are less than 250 left in the wild.

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