A Florida zookeeper known to her colleagues as the “Tiger Whisperer’’ died after she was attacked by a rare species of tiger Friday, as reported by the New York Post. Stacey Konwiser, lead tiger keeper at the Palm Beach Zoo, was killed by a 13-year-old Malayan tiger while she worked with him in an area off-limits to the public.“She loved tigers,’’ zoo spokeswoman Naki Carter told the Palm Beach Post. Apparently that love was unrequited. “I kind of referred to her as a tiger whisperer,” she added.
“They spoke to each other in a language that only they could understand. And I can’t put into words or make you understand for anyone who didn’t know Stacey how much she loved these tigers and how much this zoo family loved her.” (The tiger, for one, sure had a funny way of showing it). Authorities are unsure whether this was a crime of passion or a simple case of a cat-fight gone horribly awry. Nor is it known if the tiger spoke to Konwiser prior to the attack.
Tragically, her husband, Jeremy, is a trainer at the zoo.
Incredibly, zoo colleagues who witnessed Stacey being mauled didn’t want to kill the endangered animal, so they tranquilized the tiger and had to wait until the drugs took effect to reach Konwiser. By that time, it was too late.
There are fewer than 250 Malayan tigers left in the world and the zoo participates in a breeding program, Carter said.
There are now no Stacey Konwisers left in the world. She is extinct, so no breeding program is possible.