Female zookeeper, 25, injured in lion attack while cleaning its cage

A 25-year-old female zookeeper is in hospital after being attacked by a lion while she was cleaning its cage.

The worker at the Osnabruck Zoo in northwestern Germany was not thought to be seriously injured and was taken to hospital as a precaution, police told the dpa news agency.

The zoo said the zookeeper had gone to the outer enclosure of the lions as part of her work but forgot to close a connecting door, allowing the lion to get out and attack her from behind.

Local reports stated that when the zookeeper noticed her mistake, the animal suddenly came up to her and injured her with his paw.

The zoo says the employee is not in a critical condition and zoo staff have already spoken to her.

The facility is currently closed to the public as part of coronavirus lockdown measures in the area.

A statement on the zoo's website read: "We would like to inform you that a zookeeper was injured by a lion in an industrial accident this morning at Osnabruck Zoo.

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"The animal keeper is currently not in danger of losing her life and is being treated in hospital.

"We wish her all the best and hope that she will be better soon.

"All five animals were in the enclosure and secured at all times."

Responding to a comment on Facebook from someone asking for the animal to not be put down following the attack, the zoo wrote: "Of course, the lion is not put to sleep. He showed normal behavior. The five-headed pack is together in the facility."

Andreas Busemann, Managing Director at Osnabrück Zoo said: "We're all shocked right now and first of all we wish our employee all the best. Fortunately, there is no danger to her life, she is being treated in the hospital. We are very happy that she is doing well under the circumstances.”

Andreas Wulftange, zoological director at Osnabrück Zoo and responsible for the African lions, said: “She could go back to the nurse's corridor and get to safety there. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance where it is currently being treated.”

He added: “We would like to discuss in peace how the incident came about. Our colleague and we are currently in shock and will work through the events in the next few days and get to the bottom of the cause.

"In any case, our emergency system intervened after the internal emergency call. All colleagues came immediately, helped the colleague and the paramedics and looked after the animals."

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