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article imageLioness kills zoo keeper in South Africa

By JohnThomas Didymus     Feb 15, 2012 in Environment
Johannesburg - A lioness attacked and killed a zoo keeper at a rural conservation farm in South Africa. The farm is a lion breeding center in Parys near the town of Vredefort, 120 kilometers southwest of Johannesburg.
The attack happened due to human error, after security gates were left open. AFP reports spokeswoman for the zoo said the keeper was either feeding or cleaning the 11-year-old lioness's enclosure when he was attacked.
According to The Washington Post, workers at the conservation farm heard Joe Ramonetha screaming on Monday and rushed to help. Zoo spokeswoman Letta Madlala said they arrived too late. The 63-year-old was declared dead on arrival at a hospital.
The zoo's executive manager for education Louise Gorden, said: “It was evident that a terrible accident had occurred — gates were left open — the incident thus occurred due to human error." According to Gordon, there had been no fatal animal attack at the zoo in 50 years. Gordons said further: “The staff are trained to close all gates on entering the facility, to let the lions out into the outside camp area, secure the entrances to the night rooms and passage before any work commenced. Joe was attacked in the staff passage and sustained a fatal bite wound to his throat.”
MSNBC reports Madlala said Ramonetha had worked for the zoo since the 1970s, more than 40 years, and is survived by a wife and four adult children. Global Post quotes the South African Volksbald saying that Ramonetha was a much-loved member of staff and that zoo employees are mourning. Gordon said: "We're very shocked, because he had decades of experience and training in various safety procedures. We don't know what could have happened."
AFP reports the lioness called Nyanga, was tranquilized and isolated in a cage after the incident. Madlala said zoo managers would meet to take a decision on the fate of Nyanga.
More about Lioness, Zookeeper, Kills, Johannesburg, Joe Ramonetha
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