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Zookeeper fighting for life after ‘vicious’ lion attack

A female zookeeper has been critically injured when she was mauled by two lions inside an enclosure on the NSW South Coast.

Emergency services were called to Shoalhaven Zoo in Nowra on Friday morning, with Jennifer Brown suffering serious head and neck injuries in what was described as an “extremely vicious” attack.

Ms Brown was cleaning the enclosure at the time, with the zoo closed to the public because of COVID-19.

Jennifer Brown. (Supplied)

The experienced zookeeper was airlifted to St George Hospital and remains in a critical condition.

Paramedics had to enter the enclosure to retrieve Ms Brown, who was unconscious when they arrived.

Faye Stockmen, duty operations manager at NSW Ambulance, says it was a harrowing operation for paramedics.

“This is one of the worst jobs I have ever experienced – I have never come across a job like this in my career.

“It was absolutely harrowing.  

“It is an incredibly dangerous situations, 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.”

She said the attack was “extremely vicious”.

Officers set up a crime scene and started investigations.

Police Detective Superintendent Greg Moore said the two male lions were secured shortly after the attack and there was no further risk to people.

Asked if the lions would be put down, he said police will look into what happened and it was too early to pre-empt an outcome of that investigation.

“Fortunately, lion attacks are rare in this part of the world,” he said.

Jennifer Brown. (Supplied)

“We will be working with authorities to make sure if there’s anything we can do to make these types of establishments safer, we will be doing our best to support that.”

It’s not the first animal attack at Shoalhaven Zoo.

In 2014, a crocodile dragged a male handler into the water during a school holiday feeding show. The man suffered a minor hand injury.

(Nine)

A spokeswoman for Shoalhaven Zoo told Nine.com.au no one was available for comment.

Shoalhaven Zoo is 160km south of Sydney and has been closed since the start of the coronavirus emergency.

SafeWork NSW have been notified.

Source: 9News

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