(CNN) — A tiger at an Oklahoma zoo bit a female employee’s arm Saturday after she broke protocol by sticking her hand inside the animal’s cage, the zoo owner and local undersheriff said.
The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital and listed in stable condition, said Undersheriff Jim Mullett of Garvin County, about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City.
It happened around 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) at The Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park in Wynnewood.
“A female worker violated safety protocol and placed her hand inside (an) adult male tiger cage,” read a statement from zoo owner Joe Schreibvogel.
“She was wearing a large goose down jacket which got bunched up inside the cage wire not allowing her to get her hand back outside the cage wire fast enough and the tiger grabbed her hand pulling her left arm through a 4-inch-square hole.”
Mullett said the tiger bit the woman’s forearm.
Park medics arrived within two minutes, Schreibvogel said, and the woman was air lifted to OU Medical Center for surgery.
“This was an employee error of violating the safety protocols of placing any part of the body inside a cage,” Schreibvogel said in the statement. “The tiger will not be put down and our thoughts and prayers are with the member of our staff that was injured.
“During the entire event she (the employee) was awake and saying it was her fault and plans to return to work.”