Zookeeper Mauled by 440-Pound Gorilla While Performing Routine Breakfast Feeding, Zoo Says

Malabo, a 29-year-old male gorilla, was separated from the zookeeper with a tranquilizer dart.
Malabo, a 29-year-old male gorilla, was separated from the zookeeper with a tranquilizer dart. (Getty)

A zookeeper has been hospitalized with serious injuries after being mauled by a 440-pound gorilla, according to zoo officials. The 46-year-old, who had been working for Zoo Aquarium de Madrid for nearly two decades, reportedly suffered serious head and chest injuries and two broken arms, and remains at the hospital in serious condition after the Sunday incident.

She had entered the indoor facility to perform routine breakfast and cleaning procedures when Malabo, a 29-year-old male gorilla, somehow broke into the secure area protected with three doors, the zoo said in a statement.  

Other workers rushed onto the scene to intervene before a veterinary team sedated the gorilla with a tranquilizer dart, the statement said. According to the zoo, the area is not accessible to the public, and emergency procedures were enacted immediately.

Malabo was born with what zookeepers call protective behavior, but has been raised by caregivers ever since infancy. He is still in a separate holding facility, recovering from the anesthesia.

The zoo says the incident is still under internal investigation, and they wish the caretaker a speedy recovery.

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