So incredibly tragic! A well-loved zookeeper at the Palm Beach Zoo has died following an encounter with a rare tiger she was tending to. Stacey Konwiser, whose husband is also a zookeeper there, suffered a terrifying bite that ended up killing her.
Such terrible news. Stacey Konwiser, 38, the lead tiger keeper at the Palm Beach Zoo, had one of her beloved cats turn on her Apr. 15, when a male Malayan tiger bit her and the wound was so severed it ended up killing her! Even though Stacey was immediately rushed to a local hospital, her life couldn’t be saved. Keep reading for more on this heartbreaking incident.
Stacey was working with the big cat, getting ready for a public talk about the tigers while still in the cats’ “night house,” where the animals they are fed and where they sleep. According to zoo authorities, she was doing a completely routine procedure with the tiger when for some scary reason he bit her. She was rushed by air ambulance from the zoo to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where sadly they were unable to save her. The tiger was tranquilized but not put down.
Zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter described Stacey as, “a tiger whisperer,” adding that she and the big cats “spoke to each other in a language that only they could understand. And I can’t put into words or make you understand for anyone who didn’t know Stacey how much she loved these tigers and how much this zoo family loved her. And while she’s no longer with us, her memory will live on.” OMG, this is just too sad for words, she sounds like she adored her tigers so much. It’s so terrible that one of them ended up taking her life!
The attack was unprovoked and the zoo stressed that Stacy did nothing wrong to cause the tiger to turn on her. “These were daily operating procedures that take place before that tiger talk. This is something that Stacey performed daily, was proficient in performing,” Naki said. “There was nothing out of the norm as far as what she was conducting at that time.”
The news will be the most devastating to her husband of eight years Jeremy, who is also a fellow zookeeper. They met when they both were working at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA and moved to Palm Beach together three years ago. Stacey was named Lead Keeper for the west side of the park, and she served as the primary tiger and koala zookeeper, while Jeremy is a Swing Keeper, Level III. When they arrived at the Palm Beach Zoo, Jeremy commented,“It’s great working with your spouse. We have also carpooled together to save fuel, participating in the Zoo’s carbon footprint initiative.” OMG, we can’t imagine the grief he must be going through right now.
Our thoughts go out to Stacey’s family, friends and colleagues during this terrible time.