New Zealand Zookeeper Killed In Tiger Attack

Tiger Attacks and kIlls zooker
Samantha Kudeweh, a 43-year old zoo curator at New Zealand's Hamilton Zoo, died Sunday morning after she was attacked by a male Sumatran tiger named Oz. Photo from Hamilton Zoo/Facebook

HAMILTON, New Zealand, Sept. 20 (UPI) — A 43-year old zoo curator at New Zealand’s Hamilton Zoo died Sunday after she was attacked by a male Sumatran tiger.

The attack by the tiger named Oz took place about 11 a.m. Sunday local time at the zoo located on New Zealand’s North Island. Samantha Kudeweh, a zoo staff member for 20 years, died at the scene. New Zealand police have not released any details about the attack, but the Hamilton City Council hinted to what happened at the government-run facility.

“We can confirm the tiger in the incident is Oz, the zoo’s male tiger, and he is safely contained in his enclosure,” the city council said in a written statement. “At no time today have any zoo animals NOT been contained. There has been no risk to visitors at the zoo today or the public.” The zoo will be closed until Thursday.

Kudeweh, who studied at Auckland University, spent eight years at the Auckland Zoo and two years at Melbourne and Werribee zoos before working at Hamilton. As the curator, she was responsible for organizing the animals, determining how they are cared for and how the public sees them.

“For me the best thing about my role is the opportunities to interact with other species one to one, but there is a down side and that is having to say goodbye to animals. That part never gets any easier,” she said on her biography on the zoo’s website.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered animals, with fewer than 400 living in the wild in Indonesia. They are the smallest subspecies of tigers but can weigh well over 500 pounds.


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