Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society President & CEO, Andrew Aiken, Issues Statement on Death of Lead Keeper Stacey Konwiser

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, I want to thank everyone for supporting lead zookeeper Stacey Konwiser, her family and the entire Zoo family. I appreciate the interest of our community to learn and understand all the facts and circumstances that led to the recent death of Mrs. Konwiser, one week ago.

The facts as we know them confirm that one of our most senior and experienced animal experts who was highly qualified and a leader in her zookeeper position, secured a portion of the tiger night house with a tiger in it, and then entered that same portion of the night house after it was clearly designated as accessible by a tiger. Under Palm Beach Zoo policy, zoo employees are never allowed to enter a tiger enclosure to which the animal has access.

Why or how this could possibly occur is the subject of five ongoing investigations, including our own. Over the next few weeks we will continue to meet with employees, OSHA inspectors, detectives from the West Palm Beach Police Department, Florida Fish & Wildlife officers, investigators from the USDA and our own internal investigative team to understand every aspect of this tragic loss.

As the facts are known, we will provide them to you. All of us share two common goals: to completely understand how this could ever happen and to assure everyone that this will never happen again.

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