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20-Year-Old Zoo Worker Bitten by Tiger at Zoo Miami

A 20-year-old animal handler was reportedly bitten by a tiger during feeding time at Zoo Miami on Tuesday afternoon. Ron Magil, the zoo’s communications director, told sources that the unnamed handler suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Preliminary reports purportedly show that the handler failed to follow zoo protocol. She allegedly tried to hand feed the tiger at the back of the habitat through the enclosure bars. Magil said the zoo’s protocol was to use a feed stick or to place food in the palm of the handler’s hand and then hold it against the bar.

“The tiger was just being a tiger . . . nothing happens to the tiger,” Magil told sources. Berani, the Sumatran tiger involved in the attack, is one of the few remaining survivors of his subspecies. There are only 300 to 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. They’re distinguished by their orange coats and heavy black stripes.

Berani was born in March 2008 at San Francisco Zoo. He arrived at Zoo Miami in 2013 and has since father one tiger cub. He has been described as “laid back,” but he’s known to occasionally act aggressively toward his handlers.

This is the second tiger attack to be reported in South Florida this year. On April 15, a zoo worker identified as Stacey Konwiser was killed by a Malayan tiger in its enclosure at Palm Beach Zoo. The attack reportedly occurred at a back area away from public view, but parents and their children had to hide in the zoo’s gift shop while the tiger was tranquilized.

Magil said the circumstances for this case were quite different from the April attack. The handler was never inside the enclosure and the tiger couldn’t reach her, but it did manage to bite her hand. Zoo Miami plans to review its protocols and find out what exactly happened before moving forward.

Source: 12.13.16 Tiger Bites Handler.pdf