Naki N. Carter
Public Relations Manager
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It is with great sadness the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society mourns the loss of our Lead Keeper Stacey Konwiser. The entire Palm Beach Zoo family is saddened beyond what words can describe at this incident and tragic outcome.
While this is an active and ongoing investigation, we can confirm that at approximately 2 p.m. today, Konwiser was involved in an incident with one of our male Malayan tigers. This incident occurred off exhibit, in the tiger night house, which is in the back of the tiger exhibit where the public does not have access.
We want to underscore that at no time was the public at any risk. We also want to emphasize that at no time did any animal escape. The Zoo has a safety protocol in place for crisis situations and these protocols were employed today. Immediately after the Code Red was issued guests, who were never in any danger, were ushered out of the Zoo in an orderly fashion and the Zoo went into lockdown.
West Palm Beach Police Department and West Palm Beach Fire Department EMS responded to the scene. A number of investigations remain ongoing.
This marks the first death of a human involved in an animal incident in the history of Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Grief counselors remain available to Zoo staff affected by this tragic incident. Our focus remains on providing the adequate support for our staff and family members who have been affected by this tragic incident.
This is a very difficult situation for all Zoo staff, family members of Konwiser, her family and the extended Zoo family. We ask the media and public to respect the privacy of those involved during this difficult time.
The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society will remain closed throughout the weekend, and we will provide you updates as we receive new information from officials.
As a private organization that does not receive government funding, The Zoological Society of the Palm Beaches exists to inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world. We advance our conservation mission through endangered species propagation, education and support of conservation initiatives in the field. Our commitment to sustainable business practices elevates our capacity to inspire others. The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is located at 1301 Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit www.palmbeachzoo.org.