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Keeper Injured During Lion Transfer At Dallas Zoo

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Zookeeper is recovering Saturday night after being attacked by a lion at the Dallas zoo.

It’s a scary situation that could have ended much differently without the quick thinking of that keeper and another employee.

The 35-year-old Zookeeper is recovering at Methodist Hospital after he was bitten and scratched by a female lion.

“We had an unfortunate incident and accident with one of our keepers who was actually in the same space with a lion and was bitten by the lion,” said Gregg Hudson, President and CEO of the Dallas Zoo.

Zoo officials say the attack took place before noon during a routine transfer of the lions into a restricted area out of public view.

One of two Zookeepers who were present, inadvertently left the door of an enclosure area open.

“So the lion was in that area with them and, the male keeper was bitten and was able to use pepper spray and get out of the area.

Zookeepers who work in restricted areas with dangerous animals are always equipped with pepper spray to use as a last resort.

The male Zookeeper who, according to zoo officials, is among the most experienced, was bitten at least once on the shoulder and scratched several times.

The second Zookeeper helped distract the lion so the injured keeper could escape.

“We have very detailed animal husbandry procedures about double locks and being able to check but all of that depends on human people. So we had human error on this account,” said Hudson.

The lion was not injured and will be not be punished or euthanized.

Meanwhile the Zookeeper is recovering from his injuries.

“Anytime that you’re bitten by a lion, it’s going to be pretty serious, but they were non-life-threatening, but I was able to speak to him this afternoon and he’s in good spirits, ” assured Hudson.

The Wilds of Savannah will continue to be open without any interruptions.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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