One year since Palm Beach Zoo keeper mauled by tiger

Posted at 12:14 AM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 04:34:44-04

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the deadly attack inside the tiger night house at the Palm Beach Zoo

The death of Lead Zookeper Stacey Konwiser impacted the entire zoo. 

Stacey worked alongside her husband Jeremy, and many friends. 

“Jeremy Konwiser lost a friend, his partner, soulmate. Her family lost a daughter and the zoo family lost a colleague.”

On April 15, 2016 Stacey went to the tiger night house to prepare for the afternoon's "tiger talk." She unlocked two padlocks to open the door, walked inside and Hati, one of the zoo's Malayan tigers attacked her. 

Maintenance workers heard Stacey scream and radioed for help. Workers feared they would hit Stacey if they shot Hati, so they decided to use a tranquilizer dart, instead. 

An investigation by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commissioner, determined Stacey violated at least two safety rules: Not ensuring Haiti was locked up before entering the night house and not carrying pepper spray. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, determined the zoo did not break any rules, but recommended changes.

Zoo administrators announced Thursday they have implemented the following changes: 

  • Increased training for zookeepers
  • Cameras to cover access and transfer doors in the night house, where Stacey was found and a two key system, requiring two zookeepers present to enter an area where an animal might be.

Zoo President and CEO Andrew Aiken added, " Not a day passes at the Palm Beach Zoo without remembering the fine work and dedication of our late colleague."

Konwiser's parents told our news partners at the Palm Beach Post they fear they will "never know what really happened that awful day."