Chris Neal/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP

Topeka Zoo investigates animal handling after tiger attacks worker

April 23, 2019 - 10:21 pm

Officials are investigating animal handling protocols after a Sumatran tiger attacked and seriously injured a Kansas zookeeper as she was cleaning the animal's enclosure.

Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley says problems with the enclosure aren't to blame for Saturday's attack of Kristyn Hayden-Ortega, 40. He says she continues to improve at a hospital after she was moved Sunday out of intensive care.

Wiley says the male tiger, named Sanjiv, 7, was merely reacting to Hayden-Ortega being in his enclosure when he tackled her as several visitors watched. The tiger then was lured away so she could receive help. Wiley says he hasn't yet spoken to Hayden-Ortega about what happened. She has worked at the zoo since 2001.

The zoo has no plans to euthanize Sanjiv, who is back on display.

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