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Elephant Kills Zookeeper In Missouri

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An elephant has reportedly showed its aggression and killed the zookeeper that was working with her, in a zoo in Missouri. Patience, an elephant that has a history of aggression toward handlers, attacked and crushed her keeper on Friday morning. The keeper was a veteran at the zoo, and died in an unavoidable incident, when Patience decided to charge at him and crushed him to death. The shocking event happened in a matter of seconds.

John Phillip Bradford was the keeper working with the group of elephants at the time, and as the manager of the elephants at Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, when Patience charged at him, for an unknown reason. Other zookeepers working with Bradford quickly worked to pull the elephant away from him, whose actions were consistent with zoo policies, stated Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the city, which runs the zoo. Scott also reported that Patience had been showing actions that were “hesitant and submissive” since the death of the herd’s matriarch, who died on October 4th, after suffering from kidney disease.

The zoo officials have said that the elephant will not be punished for the incident. Working with wild animals of any kind can always be aa challenge, and especially with a big animal like an elephent, the danger is always there. In fact, according to a report that Time Magazine put out in 2007, more than 500 people die from elephant attacks worldwide each year. This is not the only incident in elephant related aggression in zoos that has occurred recently, following an attack by a mother to her newborn baby at a zoo in China in September.

Bradford was 62 years old, and attacked by an older elephant, 41 years of age. Patience is an Asian elephant who has been at the zoo since 1990. He had worked at the zoo for 30 years, and the news of his death came as a huge shock to all of his colleagues, after such a long career there. The Chicago Tribune mentions that since 1984, 13 people have been injured in incidents involving elephants at zoos and other facilities nationwide, 10 of them fatally. However, this is the first incident that has involved the Dickerson Park Zoo.

Image via Youtube

Elephant Kills Zookeeper In Missouri
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  • Dee

    Condolences to the experienced keeper and his family. It is a fact that even though elephants can be well-cared for, they can also suffer from PTSD from abuse years earlier even though the current facility may do well by them. We don’t know where she was before. Patience and the other elephants should be allowed to retire and live at an elephant sanctuary such as the one in Tennessee where they have thousands of acres to roam and can be among other elephants: http://www.elephants.com/elecam/