Zookeeper attacked by lions - 29 May 2020
A zookeeper suffered serious head and neck injuries at a south coast zoo after being attacked by two adolescent male lions after entering the lion enclosure.
Enclosure where incident occurred
When working in a zoo, wildlife park or mobile exhibit, such as a circus, you must manage the risks when working with animals.
- the animal can’t escape from its enclosure
- gates/doors/slides and other entry devices in enclosure boundaries are secure and safe
- the animal can be safely confined in its main enclosure or holding facility, when access to either section is required
- all gates/doors/slides and other entry devices are designed and maintained so the animal can’t damage or unfasten the securing device
- the control mechanism for gates/doors/slides and other entry mechanisms are in an area where the animal is unable to contact the person operating the controls
- locks used in carnivore enclosures only allow removal of the key once the lock is secured
- animal service areas near carnivore enclosures have appropriate warning signs
- a high-pressure water hose or fire extinguisher (CO2 type) for animal control is close to the enclosure
- you have an emergency plan.
Carnivorous animals must be supervised by a properly trained person who can:
- safely handle and restrain the animal
- minimise the likelihood of an attack on keepers, other members of staff, and members of the public
- minimise the animal’s stress
- provide the animal an adequate diet
- recognise aberrant behaviour and indicators of ill health
- use a firearm in emergencies.
All carnivorous animals must be removed from their enclosure before anyone goes into that enclosure, due to their potential danger to humans. This doesn't apply when:
- they're tame and present no risk
- they weigh less than 20kg
- they're anaesthetised
- they're restrained
- people viewing from a vehicle are protected from contact with the animal
- an animal trainer enters an enclosure to train or perform with them, according to relevant safe work method statements, risk assessments, and other work health and safety obligations.
When feeding, handling and training potentially dangerous animals, don't handle them inappropriately, or put yourself or others in dangerous situations.
- Standards for exhibiting carnivores in NSW
- General standards for exhibiting animals in NSW
- Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines
- Guide to managing hazards and risks
- Guide to emergency plans
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has made a significant contribution to the development of this incident information release.