April 16, 2016 / 5:15 PM / 4 years ago

Tiger recovering after killing Florida zoo worker

TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A male Malayan tiger was recovering on Saturday at a Florida zoo, a day after he killed a 38-year-old zoo worker preparing for evening routines in a behind-the-scenes area where tigers eat and sleep, according to zoo officials.

The tiger, one of four members of the endangered species at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society in West Palm Beach, Florida, was subdued with a tranquilizer following the deadly encounter around 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Friday.

Stacey Konwiser, 38, a lead keeper at the zoo, had been preparing the area known as the tiger night house for evening cleaning and feeding routines, the zoo said in a statement.

The zoo did not provide further details about the incident, which is still under investigation.

The zoo said the public was never at risk, but it will remain closed through the weekend.

Zoo staff, who met on Saturday, are mourning the death of Konwiser, a lead keeper at the zoo, where her husband is also a keeper, zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter said at a news conference.

“Stacey understood the dangers that come with this job,” Carter said. “She had a passion for this job.”

After working at the zoo for three years, Konwiser had recently accepted a position with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and was interested in a long-term career with the federal wildlife service, the zoo said.

Reporting by Letitia Stein, editing by G Crosse

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