Lion that bit worker in Canada zoo is spared, back on view

Tue Aug 9, 2016 5:59pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A lion that bit a Canadian zoo keeper on Monday and fractured one of her vertebrae will not be killed and will stay at the zoo where the public can view it, a zoo official said on Tuesday.

The worker at the Granby Zoo east of Montreal was hospitalized and expected to make a full recovery after surgery on Monday night, Director General Paul Gosselin told reporters at a news conference.

"There was no impact on the respiratory system," he said. "There was only minor impact in the backbone, and when I say minor, it was like a bone chip only." The zoo withheld the woman's name.

Gosselin said the zoo keeper had been bitten in the back after she ended up alone with the lioness, which he said should not have happened. He attributed the incident, which occurred during feeding time, to human error but he did not elaborate.

Gosselin identified the lion as Kao, a 14-year-old that was born at the zoo.

"There can be a form of aggression over her territory ..." Gosselin said, adding that the lion was not acting out of character during the incident.

Police have said the investigation would be handled by Quebec's workplace safety board. The board could not be reached for comment.

In May, a 4-year-old boy fell into a gorilla's enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio. Zoo officials shot dead a 17-year-old critically endangered western lowland gorilla named Harambe after dragged the child.

(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Toni Reinhold)