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  #1
Elephant Kills Woman at Franklin Zoo
Old 25-04-2012

Breaking news: Woman killed by elephant - national | Stuff.co.nz

Quote:
A person has been killed at a zoo near Auckland after being attacked by an elephant.

Emergency services say the woman died at the Franklin Zoo in Tuakau on Wednesday afternoon.

No further details are available at this stage.
Very sad news. Franklin Zoo have one female, ex-circus African Elephant, Mila. TV news reports say she crushed a female keeper in her pen.
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  #2
Old 25-04-2012

I thought she was protected contact
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  #3
Old 25-04-2012

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Originally Posted by Jarkari View Post
I thought she was protected contact
According to Franklin Zoos website she is...
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  #4
Old 25-04-2012

sad day
should never have happened
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  #5
Old 25-04-2012

I just saw this on the news. Very sad. Apparently the elephant was agitated or scared by something, the keeper went in to calm her, and the elephant wrapped her trunk around the keeper and crushed her. She (the keeper) died later and the body is still currently at the zoo.
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  #6
Old 25-04-2012

Vet crushed to death by elephant - National - NZ Herald News
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A veterinarian has been crushed to death by an elephant at Franklin Zoo south of Auckland, according to reports.

The zoo is home to just one elephant, a former circus elephant called Mila,One News reported.

TV3 reported that the elephant sat on the keeper then, acting protectively, would not let anyone else enter the enclosure to help the woman.

Police said they were called to the incident between the elephant and its female keeper at the zoo shortly after 4.30pm.

No further information would be available until next-of-kin had been notified and the matter had been referred to the coroner.

A fire communications spokesperson said they had limited information, but confirmed the brigade were asked to attend the Franklin Zoo in Ridge Road to assist where a person had been attacked by an elephant.

"Upon arrival, the elephant had been secured and paramedics were working with the patient who had gone fatal. They've returned to their station," they said.

The Fire Service were called just after 4.30pm and stayed at the scene for up to 40 minutes. Ambulance Communications relief team manager Louis Rapihana told TV3 ambulance staff were called around the same time.

"A person was attacked by one of the animals, by an elephant,'' he said.

Franklin Zoo is at Tuakau, south of Pukekohe.

Mila, a 40-year-old African elephant, has been at the zoo for the past three years after formerly being part of a circus.
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  #7
Old 25-04-2012

Woman killed by elephant - national | Stuff.co.nz
Quote:
A keeper has been killed at a zoo near Auckland after an elephant crushed her.

Emergency services say the woman died at the Franklin Zoo in Tuakau about 4.30pm today. TV3 reported the elephant sat on the keeper, crushing her.

The death has been referred to the coroner.

Franklin Zoo, based in Tuakau south-west of Auckland, is the home of Jumbo (Mila) the elephant an ex-circus African elephant that was rescued by the zoo.

A Department of Labour spokeswoman said the department had been advised of the fatality and was making preliminary inquiries.

She did not have any further information.

On the zoo's website, sanctuary director and veterinarian Dr Helen Schofield said Jumbo has settled in to her life at the Sanctuary well and has developed close and affectionate relationships with her team of keepers.

"Jumbo is responding well to her operant conditioning and protected care management. The program allows keepers to manage her through a protected wall, and is based solely on positive feedback.

"She is responding well by presenting feet for care, all parts of her body for washing, rub downs and other health care procedures."

"Our dream for Jumbo is to get her in a situation where she can have other African elephants for company; most elephant sanctuaries around the world manage their elephants using these procedures so she will understand them if and when it comes time to move.”

A woman who lives in a property neighbouring the zoo, who declined to be named, said she had seen the activity at the zoo when the ambulances arrived.

"We look out and see the elephant every day," she said. "I don't think it's very friendly. It hasn't had a very happy life."

Jumbo, New Zealand's only African elephant, spent 28 years as a circus elephant before a she was given to the SPCA,who found a retirement home for her at the Franklin Zoo.
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  #8
Old 25-04-2012

I wonder of this will delay Mila's export to a US elephant sanctuary?
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  #9
Old 25-04-2012

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Originally Posted by Jabiru96 View Post
I wonder of this will delay Mila's export to a US elephant sanctuary?
Possibly, although it may also affect the rules around elephant management in NZ, which could be problematic for Auckland Zoo's Burma.
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  #10
Old 25-04-2012

Campbell Live video on the event, including a talk with Tony Ratcliffe. Video is 6.45 minutes long.
Elephant's ex-owner talks to Campbell Live - Campbell Live - Video - 3 News
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  #11
Old 26-04-2012

from the first reports (calling the woman both a vet and a keeper) it was obvious who was killed but it has now been confirmed as being the zoo's owner-director Helen Schofield. As a private zoo, I wonder what this will mean for it's future.

Tributes flow for zookeeper killed by elephant - Story - NZ News - 3 News
Quote:
Tributes are flowing for the zookeeper who has been killed by a former circus elephant.

Veterinarian Helen Schofield owned Franklin Zoo, south of Auckland, where former circus elephant Mila, 39, was kept.

It's believed the elephant, previously known as Jumbo, took fright and had been trying to protect her.

The Facebook page for the zoo is full of tributes, saying Dr Schofield was "one in a million, an amazing woman who will be sorely missed".

Mark Vette sold the zoo to her five years ago and Mila arrived about three years later.

He says working with such large animals always carry an element of danger:

"What tends to happen with elephants is they tend to have a very close association with the handler," says Mr Vette. "You normally have two keepers, sometimes three keepers, but it's really important that the keeper relationship is established well and properly."

Mr Vette says he's shocked and horrified to learn of the tragedy.

Emergency services were called to Franklin Zoo about 4:30pm, just before it closed.

Police initially said Dr Schofield was attacked, but later said she was crushed in a tragic accident.

Mila joined the zoo in 2009 after a campaign by animal rights groups. She had been in care of the SPCA after years of travelling with the Whirling Bros circus.

Mila's former owner Tony Ratcliffe arrived at the zoo around 6:30pm demanding entry, saying he was the only one who could control her. He was turned away.

There is only one other known case of an elephant killing a zookeeper in New Zealand. In 1954, 65-year-old Frank Lane was killed when an elephant swung her trunk, knocking him into a wall, reports the New Zealand Herald.
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  #12
Old 26-04-2012

Another news article about Helen Schofield's death, which is a very sad loss.

Nervous elephant crushes zoo carer - national | Stuff.co.nz

Quote:
The elephant which crushed a female vet at a zoo south of Auckland had been having panic attacks and was to be sent to an elephant sanctuary in the United States.

Emergency services were called to Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary in Tuakau, 56km south of Auckland, about 4.30pm yesterday after former circus elephant Mila killed its keeper. Mila weighed 3.1 tonnes.

The dead woman is understood to be Mila's sole keeper, Helen Schofield, the owner and director of the zoo.

Just two-and-a-half hours before her death, Ms Schofield revealed details of the elephant's troubled emotional state during a talk to a group of 50 zoogoers including a Fairfax reporter while standing in front of Mila's enclosure.

She said the elephant, which came to the zoo in 2009 from the Weber Bros Circus, had taken time to integrate into the zoo environment.

Mila, formerly known as Jumbo, had spent 28 years with the circus before being retired to a purpose-built enclosure at the zoo.

Mila would frequently have panic attacks at night and Ms Schofield, who lived on site, would comfort the animal by speaking with it through a safety wall. The elephant had apparently become more settled in recent weeks.

Ms Schofield said Mila would "trumpet" when the nearby quarry would do blasting, but recently in front of a group of 5 year olds rather than running to the other end of her enclosure to do it, had stayed, looked at the vet and the kids, and "told the quarry off" from her spot in front of the group.

It had been hoped the elephant would eventually be moved to an elephant sanctuary in California to live out its years. It is unclear what will happen to Mila now.

During Ms Schofield's talk the elephant appeared friendly and was rubbing its eyes with its trunk, and spraying dust at its trainer. It did not appear agitated.

A woman who lives in a property neighbouring the zoo said she noticed activity at the zoo when ambulances arrived about 4.30pm. Fire and police also attended. "We look out and see the elephant every day," the woman said. "I don't think it's very friendly. It hasn't had a very happy life."

Auckland SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge confirmed the dead keeper was Ms Schofield and said he was devastated by her death.

The SPCA had been involved in choosing the zoo as a suitable retirement spot for Mila and had checked on her wellbeing frequently, including about six months ago, he said. Inspectors had been happy with her integration into zoo life.

Mr Kerridge said Ms Schofield was "totally in charge" of Mila and a "very passionate vet". The elephant had been her own personal interest and sole charge, and she had been nursing it back to health.

A Labour Department spokeswoman said it had been advised of the fatality and was making preliminary inquiries last night. The death had also been referred to the coroner.

The SPCA had expressed concerns about the elephant's physical and mental well-being before Mila went into the zoo's care.

When Mila was handed over to the SPCA in 2009, circus owner Harry Weber said Mila had enjoyed a busy career and was always a crowd favourite. The intention had been to retire her for the second half of her life for some peace and quiet.

Mila's former handler, Tony Ratcliffe, had been with the elephant for 28 years before her move to the zoo.

Emotional scenes unfolded outside the zoo last night as Mr Ratcliffe demanded to see Mila.

"As soon as I see the situation, I'll know if it was a deliberate elephant attack or not," he told Campbell Live.

"Elephants choose their friends and when they attack, they attack ... I'm just gutted. A lady has lost her life, it is a tragedy."

OTHER ATTACKS

Tiger handler Dalu Mncube was mauled to death in May 2009 at Zion Wild Life Gardens as he attempted to clean a tiger's enclosure.

Despite the efforts of staff who went to Mr Mncube's aid, the tiger would not let the keeper go and he died at the scene from injuries to his head, torso and lower leg.

In 2006, a Wellington Zoo keeper was mauled by two lions as horrified members of the public looked on. Zoo staff heard Bob Bennett, then 54, cry for help and rushed to pull the lions off him. He suffered neck and chest injuries.

Investigations later revealed the fundamental cause of the mauling was Mr Bennett's failure to lock the gate between the lions' den and the main enclosure.
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  #13
Old 26-04-2012

I was at Franklin zoo a couple months ago and Helen seemed so passionate about Mila's recovery. So sad it had to end this way
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  #14
Old 26-04-2012

Quote:
Mila's former owner Tony Ratcliffe arrived at the zoo around 6:30pm demanding entry, saying he was the only one who could control her. He was turned away.
Sounds political. Wouldn't it have been better to have a previous handler, with experience with that elephant, there to see if they could help.
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  #15
Old 26-04-2012

I was shocked to discover he wasnt involved in the transition to her new home. his comments about being the only African elephant handler in Australasia are complete rubbish.
 


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