Kansas zoo keeper hospitalized after attack by tiger

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

While a city official say the animal and the zookeeper were in the "same space", she could not specify what caused the attack.

The zoo keeper was alert and awake when she was rushed to a hospital, where she was listed in stable condition, city of Topeka spokeswoman Molly Hadfield said.

The woman and a 7-year-old male Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv were both in the tiger habitat shortly after the zoo opened when the tiger "essentially tackled our keeper", Zoo Director Brendan Wiley said at an afternoon press conference.

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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.

"There was an error there", he added. All the tigers except Sanjiv were later allowed back to the outdoor exhibit area.

Wiley said the zoo is not considering euthanizing the tiger. The tiger fathered four cubs a year ago, Wiley said.

Officials are investigating what led up to the attack.

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Praising the staff members for controlling the incident within about 10 minutes, Wiley shared that had it not been for "three heroes on our staff... this could have been a very different outcome".

The zoo does not plan on taking any action against the tiger at this time. It reopened about 45 minutes after the attack.

They say this type of attack has never happened at the zoo before, and they will use this incident in future safety protocol.

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