A zookeeper in Australia is in critical condition after she was attacked by two lions and suffered multiple bite wounds.
The attack, which has been described as “extremely vicious” took place at Shoalhaven Zoo in North Nowra, New South Wales.
According to NSW Police, emergency services were called to the zoo before 10.30am on Friday and the 35-year-old woman was “treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics for head and neck injuries”.
She was then airlifted to St George Hospital “in a critical but stable condition”.
NSW Police Superintendent Greg Moore said zookeeper had been performing cleaning duties in the lion enclosure when she was “set upon” by the big cats.
Faye Stockman, duty operations manager of NSW Ambulance, told reporters the operation to rescue the woman was “absolutely harrowing”.
“This is one of the worst jobs I have ever experienced – I have never come across a job like this in my career,” she said.
“It is an incredibly dangerous situation, both for the patient and the paramedics. 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.
“The attack was extremely vicious and paramedics found the woman with severe injuries.”
Police have established a crime scene and investigations into the circumstances surrounding the incident are underway.
Police tape at the entrance of the Shoalhaven Zoo, after a woman in her thirties, understood to be an employee, was bitten by a lion this morning. She’s in a serious condition. pic.twitter.com/83KyzWFYdB— Ainslie DrewittSmith (@AinslieClaire)May 29, 2020
Shoalhaven Zoo said it had no comment on the incident at this time.
Mr Moore said it was too early to say if the lions would be put down, adding a “decision will be made once the investigation has been completed”.
“Understandably, it has had a big impact on the staff – it is a small zoo and the staff are very tight-knit,” he said.