In a tragic incident in the ‘Cabarceno Natural Park’ in North-East Spain, one of the female elephants hit a Zookeeper with her trunk, which led to his death. The park, located in the northern city of Cantabria’s ‘Santador,’ has seen such an incident for the first time in its 31-year-old- history, said the zoo.
As part of everyday routine, the 44-year-old ‘Joaquin Gutierrez’ was cleaning the elephant stables along with other staff on Tuesday. Reportedly, the female elephant was with her calf in the compound. The female elephant weighing around 4,000kg (8,800 lb.) hit the man with her trunk. The blow of the large elephant’s trunk was much high in magnitude and Gutierrez’s head hit against the bars of an enclosure, causing him multiple injuries. He was then rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead around three hours later.
Zookeeper worked with Elephants for 20 years
Talking about the incident, Cantabria’s Tourism Minister ‘Javier Lopez Marcano’ said that “We’re talking about unpredictable animals”, and said that the Elephant’s strike was so forceful no one could survive. He also said that the zookeeper Guiterrez was working in the zoo with elephants for almost 20 years. The zoo authorities and Police have started an investigation into the matter. Marcano mentioned that the elephant which struck the man had a foot infection and is likely pregnant too. Following this, further investigation will determine what caused the tragic incident and if something triggered the female elephant to attack the known zookeeper in the park.
‘Cabarceno Natural Park’ home to Biggest Elephant Herd in Captivity Outside Africa
The zoo is home to around 900 animals from around 120 animal species. The park is built on a former Roman iron mine that is close to Cantabrian capital Santander. The zoo is located in the midst of the beautiful hills of northern Spain. The Elephant enclosure of the zoo is very large, even the bear’s enclosure is around 35 hectares wide. Visitors to the zoo generally start with the Elephant enclosure and feed apples to the elephant. Also, the keepers are trained well to handle the elephants and make them comfortable with human contact. This helps the keepers treat the elephants if they become ill. Interestingly, the ‘Cabarceno Natural Park’ has the largest elephant herd captivity outside Africa.
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