An Australian zoo keeper has sustained critical injuries to her head and neck after being mauled by a lion at a zoo in New South Wales (NSW) state on Friday.
Ambulance personnel who entered the lion enclosure at the Shoalhaven Zoo described the situation as “harrowing”, reports Xinhua news agency
The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was working within the lion enclosure when the attack occurred.
Police and several ambulance crews were on scene, treating the woman for bites and lacerations before airlifting her to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Medical teams placed themselves at extreme risk by entering the enclosure in order to provide life saving assistance.
“The attack was extremely vicious and paramedics found the woman with severe injuries,” duty operations Manager for NSW Ambulance, Inspector Faye Stockmen said.
“Being the first to walk into the enclosure was one of the most frightening experiences – we literally had to walk into a lion’s den.”
Shoalhaven Zoo, which is roughly 118 km south of Sydney, is currently closed due to COVID-19 pandemic but allows visitors the option of a close-up feeding experience with the four resident lions.
“Have the experience of a lifetime getting close to our Big Cats. Feel their power and majesty as you get to feed them with the help of one of our keepers,” the zoo’s website states.