It is with great sadness the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society mourns the loss of their 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, they can confirm that at approximately 2 p.m. today, Konwiser was involved in an incident with one of their 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,” stated Naki Carter, Zoo Public relations officer. “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 within moments, and 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. Their 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. The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society will remain closed throughout the weekend, and we will provide you updates as they receive new information from officials.
Palm Beach Happening extends our condolences to the keeper’s family, and the entire staff of the Palm Beach Zoo. We have been honored to be able to participate in several behind the scenes events at the zoo in recent years, and find it interesting that the majority of local news outlets never cover the attraction when good things happen at the zoo, but when unfortunate accidents occur, they are right there. It is the nature of the business, to be sure, but a part of the news process that we do not agree with.
The zoo requests that the media and public to respect the privacy of those involved during this difficult time. We look forward to continuing our coverage of one of the top zoological parks in the country, and hope for better times ahead.