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Zookeeper Taken to Hospital after Tiger Bite

Updated: 12/02/2013 10:37 PM
Created: 12/02/2013 9:20 PM WDIO.com

A zookeeper working with a tiger at the Lake Superior Zoo was hospitalized Monday after being bit by the animal.

Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations, says the woman was training the Amur Tiger using venison when the incident happened. He says the piece of meat slipped out of the zookeeper's hand, and the tiger, named Ussuri, nipped the end of her finger. The woman's finger was "mangled," but intact, according to Pruett.

"It's not just a matter of the finger being stitched up," said Pruett. "She was in a measure of shock, and it's more probably about being bit. When we work with our animals, we do develop a relationship and it's always surprising when something like this happens."

Pruett says in the five years he's worked at the zoo, he's never seen something like this happen, and will be reviewing protocols to make sure it doesn't happen in the future.

The four-year zoo veteran is expected to return to work within a few days, and continue working with Ussuri the tiger.

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