Tiger bites zookeeper at Zoo Miami

Woman loses part of finger after breaking protocol, zoo spokesman says

MIAMI – A zookeeper was bitten Tuesday by a tiger at Zoo Miami.

Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said the zookeeper was feeding a tiger through the bars against protocol when she was bitten on the finger. Magill said she lost one-eighth of the top of her finger.

Magill identified the tiger as Berani, an 8-year-old Sumatran tiger.

Zoo Miami's website describes Berani as "a laid back tiger, but will occasionally act aggressively toward his keepers."

"This bite was not done in aggression," Magill said. "He was biting the meat that she was passing through the bars."

Magill said nothing will happen to Berani and he will not be quarantined.

"Anytime an incident happens here where somebody gets hurt by an animal, it's always our fault," Magill said.

The woman, who is in her 20s, is expected to be OK, but Magill said she will probably have a scar for the rest of her life.

The worker is expected to be disciplined for failing to follow protocol, but zoo officials said she will not lose her job.

"Unfortunately, this keeper, she was rewarding the cat for going from one point to the other, she deviated from protocol. She allowed her fingers to go through the bars when pushing through the meat," Magill said. "When the tiger went to eat the meat, he also got the tip of her finger."

The keeper was supposed to use a stick to feed the animal, but used her hands instead. 

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