Beds, Herts & Bucks

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo 'rhino incident': Man seriously injured

Rhino at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Five rhinos live in the enclosure where the incident happened

A senior zookeeper has been taken to hospital after being seriously injured by a rhino in Bedfordshire.

The man, in his 50s, was found by colleagues in water at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, near Dunstable, with injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

He was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge at 09:30 GMT, where he is in a serious but stable condition.

The man was given enhanced pain relief at the scene. Five rhinos live in the enclosure, a zoo spokeswoman said.

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Media captionDavid Field, Director of ZSL: "I am pleased to report that he is now out of surgery"

Paramedics took measures to keep him warm as his body temperature had dropped considerably after being immersed in water.

'Number of injuries'

A Whipsnade Zoo spokeswoman said the zookeeper was found injured in the Asian rhino enclosure about 08:15 by colleagues.

"Procedures were immediately followed to secure the scene and emergency services were called," she said.

"The keeper was treated at the scene by paramedics and was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for further care."

Image caption The zookeeper was found by other members of staff in an enclosure
Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Five rhinos live in the enclosure, a zoo spokeswoman said

David Field, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) zoological director, said: "An investigation into exactly what happened has begun.

"His family and ZSL staff are with him at the hospital, where he is being well looked after."

Dave Tamarro, of the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "When we arrived it was clear that the patient had received a number of injuries, including injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

"We stabilised the patient whilst the air ambulance was on its way."

The Health and Safety Executive and Central Bedfordshire Council are investigating.

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