A worker at Sweden’s largest zoo was killed when a pack of wolves attacked her as she worked inside their enclosure.
The 30-year-old woman was experienced in working with animals and had entered the wolves’ area alone in Sweden’s Kolmarden zoo, the Associated Press reported. The area contained eight wolves, the report said.
The woman’s co-workers first realized something was wrong when she would not respond to radio calls from them. Zoo workers and paramedics entered the pen and formed a human chain around the woman to prevent further attack, but she was already dead by then, Swedish media reported.
A crisis group assembled to meet with other zoo employees and the woman’s family was notified of her death, news agency TT reported. Witnesses said the woman moved into the cage at around 11 a.m. Sunday morning and was surrounded by the wolves, which then attacked her. Emergency services were called 11 minutes later but at first were unable to enter the enclosure.
“You can’t just go in to a pack of wolves. Police and ambulance staff couldn’t get close to the victim until later,” Norrköping’s emergency services coordinator Jan Tengeborg told Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper.
Olof Liberg, a wolf expert at Sweden’s University of Agricultural Sciences, said that while the event is unusual, it has happened before. Zoo animals lose their fear of humans, which can create for dangerous situations, he continued.
Incidents like Sunday’s wolf attack can happen when there is a break in routine, like the worker going into the enclosure alone, Liberg said.