Woman dies after tiger attack at Palm Beach Zoo

Zoo employee preparing for 'tiger talk' in private night house at time of attack

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A woman who worked at the Palm Beach Zoo was killed Friday after being attacked by a tiger.

Stacey Konwiser, 38, was preparing for the 2 p.m. "tiger talk" with a male tiger in the behind-the-scenes night house at the time of the attack, Palm Beach Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said.

"It was a day-to-day procedure, and something went tragically wrong," Carter told Local 10 News reporter Derek Shore. "We are trying to uncover with investigators exactly what that was."

Carter said the zoo was open at the time, but guests weren't present during the attack and were never in any danger.

Konwiser, who had worked at the zoo for three years, was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, where she later died.

Carter said Konwiser's family lived out of state, and her husband also worked at the zoo.

She said the death is the first involving a human at the hands of an animal in the zoo's history.

The tiger was tranquilized, but Carter would not elaborate on the tiger's status.

"Stacey loved tigers," Carter said. "She just glowed when she was around them."

Carter said the zoo will remain closed until further notice.

"We as a family, we are overcome with grief," Carter said of zoo employees.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is investigating.

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