Lion Kills S. African Zookeeper

Employee came out of retirement because of staff shortages
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2012 1:00 AM CST
Lion Kills S. African Zookeeper
Zoo officials plan to meet to determine the fate of the lioness.   (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

A Johannesburg Zoo employee who came out of retirement because of staff shortages was killed by a lioness at a breeding facility outside the city. The 63-year-old, who had nearly 40 years of experience working with animals, was attacked while feeding the lions, the BBC reports. An enclosure was found unlocked, apparently because of human error. The 11-year-old lioness, Nyanga, was tranquilized and returned to her enclosure.

"There will be a full investigation and we will decide then what to do with Nyanga, but it's clear that this was just an instinctive reaction on her part, perhaps because he tried to run away," a zoo spokeswoman says. "She didn't take his body away like prey—she bit him once in the neck and that was it. It's just an unfortunate accident and devastating for all of us." (Read more lion stories.)

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