WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — The veteran zookeeper who was killed by a Malayan tiger last week entered the animal’s enclosure when she wasn’t supposed to, according to a statement by the Palm Beach Zoo.READ MORE: CVS, NAACP Team Up To Get COVID Vaccines To People Of Color In South Florida
The fatal attack on April 15th took the life of Stacey Konwiser, considered one of the zoo’s “most senior and experienced animal experts who was highly qualified and a leader in her zookeeper position.”
Five investigations are underway and preliminary findings determined that she, however, broke the rules and got into the tiger house with it still inside.
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society President and CEO Andrew Aiken said that Konwiser “secured a portion of the tiger night house with a tiger in it, and then entered that same portion of the night house after it was clearly designated as accessible by a tiger.”READ MORE: Eye On Earth: 'One Of The Most Peaceful Places In South Florida': Wakodahatchee Wetlands
He went on to say that zoo policy forbids employees from ever entering an enclosure that the animals have access to.
“Over the next few weeks we will continue to meet with employees, OSHA inspectors, detectives from the West Palm Beach Police Department, Florida Fish & Wildlife officers, investigators from the USDA and our own internal investigative team to understand every aspect of this tragic loss,” said Aiken.
A spokeswoman for the zoo called Konwiser “a tiger person” who shared a “dialogue that only they understood.”
The Florida Fish & Wildlife released a history of incidents with the tigers at the zoo.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Benefit From Much-Needed Provisions At Miami Springs Food Distribution
The tiger was tranquilized and remains at the zoo.