Zookeeper Killed and Another Injured in Rhino Attack at Austrian Zoo

Salzburg, Austria — Tragedy struck at Salzburg Hellbrunn Zoo in Austria as a zookeeper lost her life and another sustained serious injuries in an attack by a rhinoceros, according to Salzburg police reports on Tuesday.

The incident unfolded as a 33-year-old female animal keeper was conducting her early morning duties in the rhinoceros enclosure. Despite her experience as a zookeeper, the rhino attacked her, resulting in her tragic death at the scene.

Another keeper, a 34-year-old Austrian, attempted to intervene and deter the rhino from further harm. However, he too fell victim to the attack, suffering serious injuries. The injured zookeeper was swiftly transported to Salzburg University Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Ulrike Ulmann, a spokesperson for the zoo, expressed deep shock and uncertainty regarding the incident. She explained that the rhinos typically receive insect repellent treatment in a secured area during the early morning hours.

The zoo houses an impressive variety of wildlife, boasting 150 species and 1,500 animals, including white rhinoceroses. Currently, the rhino enclosure is home to two females named Yeti and Tamika, along with two males named Tamu and Athos.

White rhinos rank as the second-largest land mammals, with weight ranges spanning from 3,080 to 7,920 pounds, as detailed by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Their conservation status is classified as near-threatened, with fewer than 16,000 white rhinos remaining.

In response to the tragic incident, the zoo announced its temporary closure on Tuesday and Wednesday.