Zookeeper expected to survive tiger attack

March 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM

SAINT-FELICIEN, Quebec, March 29 (UPI) -- A zookeeper attacked by a Siberian tiger at the Lac St. Jean area zoo in Quebec is expected to survive, officials said.

The 51-year-old zookeeper, whose name wasn't reported, was attacked Thursday by a female tiger while he was cleaning the zoo's tiger pen, CBC News reported.

He sustained injuries to his neck and was taken to a local hospital.

"Right now he's at the hospital. His life is not in danger," said Christine Gagnon, the zoo's director of conservation and education. "We are really lucky for that."

Zoo officials are investigating why the tiger was in the pen while the zookeeper was cleaning. Normally the zoo's Siberian tigers, two males, one female and two cubs, are kept in their nighttime pen while their daytime pen is being cleaned.

"We're trying to understand how this happened. Right now our main focus is toward the employee and his family, obviously, and also for the rest of the employees that are quite disturbed by the event," Gagnon said.

The tiger has been put in an isolation pen and isn't expected to be euthanized, zoo officials said.

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