5K race honors Palm Beach zookeeper

Posted at 9:07 AM, May 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 18:59:35-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- The Palm Beach Zoo hosted a 5K race in memory of a beloved friend and co-worker, Stacey Konwiser.

The Stacey Konwiser Memorial Save the Tiger 5K kicked off at 7:30 a.m.

The annual race has been renamed in her memory and there was record turnout of nearly 1,000 people.

Friends and co-workers remembered Stacey for her positivity and love of big cats. She was known as the Tiger Whisperer.

"She was a good friend," said Dave Ruhl, the head of maintenance and construction at the zoo. "Always fun to have around, fun to work with, very helpful in projects."

Erin McNally, a vet tech, has known Stacey for more than a year.

"I would like everybody to remember her as a positive person, very passionate about her career and about the animals she worked with in her entire career not just here at the Palm Beach Zoo," said McNally.

Many turned out who didn't know Stacey but felt it was important to be there.
"We all did it not just for the tigers but also for her as well," said Lora Morhouse, of Port St. Lucie.
Morhouse's friend, Kelley Whitten, added, "It's always a tragedy when something like this happens," she said. "So to be out here to help support the family, and to show support for everyone at the Zoo, definitely made a difference."
Money raised will go toward a tiger conservation project in Malaysia. It will help to protect the remaining 250 wild Malayan tigers from poaching and to protect their habitat.

The race spanned 3.1 miles through Dreher Park. It ended at the fountain inside the Palm Beach Zoo.

Registration was $40 and included free admission to the zoo for the day.

The race honoring Stacey will be held this time every year.