Web Extra: Zookeeper Killed While Feeding Elephants

Web Extra: Zookeeper Killed While Feeding Elephants

A veteran zookeeper at a Missouri Zoo was killed Friday morning while feeding the animals.
(KOLR) SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A veteran zookeeper at Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo was killed this morning while feeding the animals, police say.

The incident happened about 8:44 a.m. when elephant manager John Bradford was with the animals in the elephant barn.
Zoo officials say on a typical morning, Bradford feeds the 6,000 pound animals around 9:00 a.m.

Today, he was performing that routine chore, but one of the female elephants became aggressive, charged him, and Bradford was killed as the result of injuries he suffered.

Bradford, 62, had been with Dickerson Park Zoo for 25 years, as supervisor of the Asian area of the zoo, where the elephants live.

Officials say at the time of the charge, other zoo workers were also in the barn.

The female, Patience, is 41 years old. She has been at Dickerson Park Zoo since 1990. Zoo officials say no decisions have been made about her future at the zoo.
It is the second major tragedy at the Zoo this week involving the elephants. Saturday, the matriarch elephant, Connie - known to most as Pinky - was euthanized.
Connie had been in failing health since August and her health had rapidly declined.

Dickerson Park Zoo had been Connie’s home since 1981, when she moved there from Abilene, Texas. Connie was about 50 years old; her age surpassed the life expectancy for an elephant cow by three years. Connie became the matriarch elephant for the Zoo’s herd in 2010, and remained the matriarch through her final days.

KOLR10 interviewed Bradford in 2010 following the death of a trainer at Orlando's SeaWorld, who was killed by an orca. At that time, Bradford acknowledged the danger of working with large animals. "There's an inherent risk in working at a zoo," he said. "The deal is you want to minimize those risks if the situation calls for it and an animal is in need with direct contact with keepers, we assess the situation and determine if it's an acceptable risk or not."

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus