By 3 News online staff
Wellington Zoo is investigating how a primary school child managed to enter a secure enclosure used by keepers to hand-feed a tiger.
The keeper was not present when the incident took place and the zoo says it is unclear how the child managed to enter the area.
An internal investigation has been launched and two government agencies have been notified.
"We are not sure how the incident occurred, and we are taking it very seriously," a zoo spokeswoman told Fairfax.
No zoo staff saw it happen, but were alerted to the incident when 17-year-old Sumatran tiger Rokan rushed up to the mesh fence used to protect its keeper during hand-feeding.
It is believed a gate into the keepers' area was left unlocked, allowing the child to enter. The student did not get past the mesh fence separating the tiger from the keepers' area.
Rokan's keeper has since been stood down from duties involving dangerous animals, though is still working at the zoo.
In 2003 a mental health patient who managed to climb the wall and enter Rokan's enclosure was severely mauled by the tiger, and eight years ago a zoo keeper was mauled by a lion at the zoo when another gate was left unlocked.