- Joaquin Gutierrez Arnaiz, 44, was a zookeeper at Cabarceno Natural Park in Cantabria, Spain.
- The elephant’s powerful blow flung him onto the iron bars of her enclosure, CNN reported.
- He died from injuries in the hospital some three hours later.
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A Spanish zookeeper has died after an elephant struck him with her trunk, throwing him onto her enclosure’s iron bars.
Two of his colleagues called for help. He was rushed to Marques de Valdecilla University Hospital, where he died from injuries some three hours later, a statement from Cabarceno Natural Park said.
Cantabria’s Minister Tourism, Francisco Javier López Marcano, said in the statement: “We are deeply shocked. Cabárceno loses a person much loved his peers and a hard-working and dedicated caregiver for almost two decades.”
López Marcano also told AFP: “We’re talking about unpredictable animals. The force of the strike was tremendous, of a magnitude that one could not survive.”
Cabarceno Natural Park includes a 61-acre elephant habitat with 20 elephants. It is also home to some 120 others, including lions and tigers, but this is the first fatal incident in its 30-year history.
Last year, a 46-year-old zookeeper was attacked by a 197kg gorilla named Malabo at Madrid Zoo Aquarium. Although she survived, both her arms were broken, and she suffered chest and head injuries.