Trainer at zoo in Duluth injured while working with tiger


A trainer at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth is recovering after an injury to her finger that happened as she was working with a 400-pound male Amur tiger.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that Jennifer Eickhoff, who has worked at the zoo for four years, was doing positive reinforcement training with the tiger named Ussuri when a piece of venison got stuck on the fence. The animal went for it, and the injury resulted, but the newspaper said it's not clear if the tiger or the fence got her fingertip. The Northland's News Center reports that the meat slipped from her hand and the tiger tried to catch it but instead caught her finger.

“It’s still attached, it’s just a little on the mangled side,” Peter Pruett, director of zoo operations told the newspaper. “She was in complete shock.”

Eickhoff was transported to St. Luke’s hospital for treatment. She was expected to recover Monday night.

"When she comes back to work, I'll sit down with her and we'll discuss the incident and we'll look through our protocols and we'll make the necessary changes to make sure this type of accident doesn't happen again," said Peter Pruettm, Director of Zoo Operations.

The tiger has been placed in holding for the time being.

The Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth was the focus of attention during the flash flooding that hit in June of 2012. A number of animals drowned in the emergency, including all but one of the animals in the barnyard display. The zoo was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for having inadequate shelter for the animals.

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