Officials at the Toledo Zoo say the keeper has been released from the hospital and is doing fine. The tiger was not injured and was actually on exhibit today. Zoo workers say there are specially designed mesh barriers made to house carnivores. In the close quarters where keepers work, the mesh is doubled up.
This morning when a keeper was checking the area a five-year-old female tiger, believed to be Marta, jumped up against the double mesh striking the employee. "Just a freak accident. There was one place in the mesh where there is a big enough hole and the paw went through the mesh and caught the keeper right across the chest," says a Zoo spokesperson. "My guess is the cat was as surprised as the keeper was when the paw went through the mesh."
This is the first attack at the Toledo Zoo that Executive Director Ann Baker can recall. She believes the tiger did not intend harm, stating the tigers are still secure in the exhibit. She also says there was never any danger to the public. Right now, officials are in the process of reviewing the incident. "We're going to take a look at it and see if we can't get some sort of a solid panel up there to prevent anything like this from ever happening again."
Because the zookeeper wants to remain anonymous, that person's identity is not being released. After today, the keeper will be able to return to his/her normal work schedule.