It was the second serious tiger attack in a fortnight in Germany, following the recent severe mauling of 28-year-old Christian Walliser, a circus animal trainer, by three tigers in front of horrified spectators in Hamburg.
Police in the town of Aschersleben, where the zoo is located, said the woman was busy cleaning out the tiger cage when a male white tiger named Karim came in through a cage door that had not been closed.
The tiger attacked the woman from behind and pinned her down. An assistant head of the zoo, who was working close by, managed to force the tiger into a cage and get the door shut.
The woman was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Magdeburg. Police did not elaborate on her injuries but said they were not life-threatening.
In the previous attack, animal trainer Walliser suffered serious head and chest injuries and had to have one hand amputated. Circus organisers said the tigers did not mean to injure the man but were instead playing with him.