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Police: Woman breaks into Omaha zoo to pet tiger, gets bit

Posted at 1:43 PM, Nov 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-01 19:24:04-05

A woman is recovering after reportedly being bit by a tiger early Sunday morning while trespassing at the Omaha Zoo.

Police in Omaha were called to Creighton Medical Center after reports of a disturbance with a patient that had an injury to her hand.

Officers say 33-year-old Jacquline Edie was being aggressive towards staff at the hospital and appeared to be intoxicated. 

After investigating, police say they discovered that Edie had allegedly trespassed at the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo to pet a tiger.

While reaching into the tiger's cage she was bit, causing severe trauma to her left hand, according to investigators.

The Zoo released a statement on Sunday night confirming that two people had trespassed on Halloween night.

Statement from Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

As reported by the Omaha Police Department on November 1, 2015, two people trespassed after-hours at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Halloween night. One of the individuals’ hands was injured while on grounds, reportedly by a tiger. The tiger believed to have been involved in the incident was Mai, an 18-year-old, Malayan tiger. The incident is currently under investigation by the Omaha Police Department. 

“The safety and security of our guests and animals are always a priority at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium,” said Dennis Pate, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s executive director and CEO. “Emergency phone numbers are printed on maps for guests to call in case of an emergency and security staff keep watch on grounds around the clock. We have added security cameras, new path lighting and computer-controlled locks to track exit and entry. Additional path lighting is planned for the new African Grasslands exhibit and more cameras will be installed to monitor the grounds and gates.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. As one of only 230 accredited zoos and aquariums, the highest standards must be met, including the safety and security for guests and animals in our care. Multiple drills are conducted by Zoo staff annually to ensure a rapid and appropriate response in the event of an emergency. “We will continue to keep security a top priority for Zoo guests and animals,” Pate said.

Police say a friend took her to the hospital. 

Edie was cited for criminal trespass and remains at the hospital for treatment, according to police. The zoo is currently investigating the incident.