During a routine visit to the wolves’ enclosure at the Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden, a female zookeeper was mauled and killed by a pack that she had cared for since the wolves were pups. The zoo, located about 90 miles south of Stockholm, is billed as Sweden’s largest wildlife park. Kolmarden Zoo is also known for offering “Wild Encounters,” where visitors get up close and personal with wild animals.
From Kolmarden Zoo’s website,
We offer many special events for groups, large and small, all year round. Why not add a little extra to your visit by petting wolves, coming face to face with lions, or meeting dolphins close up. Anything can happen with our Wild Encounters.
The unidentified 30-year-old zookeeper followed procedure by notifying staff that she was entering the enclosure. This was done routinely to maintain contact with the wolves. When she did not respond to calls by other employees, staff felt that something was not right and went to check the enclosure. She was found dead in the pen shortly after 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 17. Paramedics were unable to reach the body for some time as she was still surrounded by wolves when they arrived, according to Aftonbladet.
It is unknown what instigated the attack. Zoo officials said the zoo would review its wolf handling procedures while it works closely with authorities who are investigating the occurrence.
Director of the zoo Jan Roy said their first step is to eliminate all close contact with the wolves. According to a statement by the zoo, the “Wild Encounters” program will not be resumed with the wolves, although the Kolmarden Zoo is open to the public. It is yet to be decided whether the wolves will be put down or not.
Image from Pavan Kunder on flickr