Beds, Herts & Bucks

Whipsnade Zoo: Injured Rhino keeper still in hospital

Entrance to Whipsnade Zoo
Image caption The zookeeper was found by other members of staff in an enclosure

A senior zookeeper is still in hospital more than a month after he was seriously injured by a rhino in Bedfordshire.

The man, in his 50s, was found by colleagues in water at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, near Dunstable on 19 November, with injuries to the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

He was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in a "serious" condition.

A zoo spokeswoman said he was "still receiving care and is stable".

The keeper was found in the Asian rhino enclosure where paramedics kept him warm after his body temperature had dropped considerably from being immersed in water.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Central Bedfordshire Council are both investigating.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Five Asian rhinos live in the enclosure where the incident happened, the zoo said

Asian rhinos

  • Species include the greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis), Javan rhino (R. sondaicus) and Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
  • Whipsnade Zoo has greater one-horned rhinos in its Rhinos of Nepal enclosure
  • There are about 2,500 such animals left in the wild - the overall population has slowly increased from as few as 200 at the beginning of the 20th Century
  • They have the most folded skin of the rhino species
  • Instead of using horns to fight, the males use long, sharp lower teeth
  • They are very good swimmers and spend up to 60% of the day wallowing

Source: World Wild Life Fund and ZSL

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