Whenever the name “Florida” pops up in headlines it is fair to expect the unexpected. This time is no different, although it takes on a more somber note than the usual “Florida Man” formula where someone from Florida does something ridiculous. In fact, this is just downright depressing.
ABC News reports that on Saturday morning a Malayan tiger fatally wounded a zookeeper at the Palm Beach Zoo in southern Florida. The 38-year old zookeeper, Stacey Konwiser, was in a back area where the zoo’s four endangered tigers sleep and eat helping to prepare the 13-year old tiger for a performance when she was attacked. The tiger was tranquilized by zoo staffers, with officials having to wait for the tiger to be subdued before they could medevac Konwiser to a medical facility where she was pronounced dead.
This video from the Palm Beach Zoo dating back to 2014 shows Konwiser — who was nicknamed the “Tiger Whisperer” — explaining the work that she and the zoo were doing to help preserve the Malayan tigers, which are an endangered species with less than 250 known tigers left in existence. While the fate of the tiger that attacked Konwiser is unknown still, this was the first deadly attack at the zoo in over 60 years. It’s times like this that everyone remembers that these are indeed deadly hunters.
The tiger is still recovering from the sedation while Konwiser’s husband, Jeremy, read a note of support to the staff at the zoo while they look into establishing a memorial fund in his wife’s honor.