To the Staff of Palm Beach Zoo from the Board of Directors and Officers of the Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums,
Our deepest condolences go out to Stacey Konwiser’s family and friends as well as her coworkers at the Palm Beach Zoo. The loss you have experienced has been deeply felt by your colleagues at all of the AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, especially those institutions here in Florida.
Mrs. Konwiser dedicated her life’s work to wildlife conservation and was committed to caring for and saving tigers from extinction. Her life commitment embodies the mission of wildlife conservation and lies at the heart of all accredited zoos and aquariums. The Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums (FAZA), of which Palm Beach Zoo is a member, collectively contributed over $21 million to saving animals in the wild in 2015. We know this unwavering commitment to excellence in the fields of animal care, conservation and education continues today at the Palm Beach Zoo.
As they continue to work with agencies on the ongoing investigation to fully understand this tragic accident, we stand by and support our colleagues at the Palm Beach Zoo.
Lawrence E. Killmar, PhD., President
Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums (FAZA)
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
1101 W. Sligh Ave.
Tampa. FL. 33604
Phone 813-935-8552, ext. 305
Cell phone 813-777-4610
Palm Beach Zoo Press Conference; April 28, 2016
Statement from Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
My sincere condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Stacey Konwiser. Recently I had the privilege of meeting several zookeepers at the Palm Beach Zoo, including Stacey. Zookeepers are some of the most dedicated and loving people I’ve met in my lifetime.
Working in or around animals in a zoological setting is serious. These are wild animals – and we can’t forget that for even a second. I have always said, if something happens to me while working with an animal, it is my fault – not the animal’s. We must always respect their space, their natural abilities and instincts, and know that we cannot drop our guard.
Though animals in zoological settings are accustomed to seeing people on a regular basis, they still have the instincts of their cousins in the wild. Accredited zoos and aquariums are required to have very strict policies in place to insure the safety of our animals, staff and guests.
In my more-than 40-year career, I’ve been honored to take an active role in modernizing zoological parks to provide top-notch habitats, veterinary care, safety protocols, animal welfare and enrichment, and meaningful educational opportunities. Like the Columbus Zoo and many others, the Palm Beach Zoo has really transformed over the past few decades into a great organization that supports the animal world while creating memorable experiences for its guests.
I am so proud to be part of the zoo community that has become both major funders of field conservation and destinations for education, family fun, and inspiration. Together accredited zoos and aquariums contribute $154 million each year to protect more than 775 species in 130 countries, including here in the United States.