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UPDATE: Condition of zookeeper improving after Saturday tiger attack

The director of the Topeka Zoo says a zookeeper who was attacked by a Sumatran tiger’s condition is improving, she’s improved enough to go from intensive care to a regular room in a Topeka hospital.

“Obviously, we’re not family, so we’re speculating on that,” said zoo director Brendan Wiley Sunday. “As it relates to her, we’ll take whatever we can as good news.”

There isn’t much change in how Sanjiv, the tiger is being taken care of.

“With a human in his space, he did what a tiger would do,” said Wiley. “He will not be euthanized. He’s actually out in his outdoor habitat today and for him, life is somewhat normal.”

The more Wiley learns, the better he feels about the response to what happened.

“From an operational perspective, I was extremely impressed at how fast things just happened,” said Wiley.

The investigation into the incident continues.

The original story is below.

The regular keeper for Sanjiv the tiger at the Topeka Zoo was injured by the tiger Saturday morning.

According to zoo director Brendan Wiley, the keeper and Sanjiv, a 7-year-old male Sumatran tiger, were in the same space around 9:15 a.m. The injuries to the keeper are not life-threatening. She is in stable condition after being treated at a Topeka hospital.

“There is absolutely no consideration to euthanize Sanjiv,” Wiley said. “Sanjiv will continue to be a valuable and viable part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan. While this incident is very unfortunate, he did what a wild animal, what a wild tiger does.”

It is normal practice for the keeper to be in the area she entered in the morning, but not for Sanjiv to have access to the keeper. The investigation into the incident will continue, but since Wiley hasn’t had a chance to talk to the keeper, there are some details they don’t know.

“It may take several days for us to conclude that,” said Wiley. “We’ve been in touch with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and we’ll keep the accreditation commission updated as well.”

Wiley said the zoo plans to review its current policies and see if there are any updates that need to be made.

“We’re fortunate that we just had two staff return from the AZA Safety Summit,” said Wiley. “This will be our first opportunity to relay that new information.”

The four cubs recently fathered by Sanjiv and their mother were on display Saturday.

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