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Wolves Kill Female Zoo Employee Who Raised Them

Wolves Kill Female Zoo Employee Who Raised Them

Wolves have attacked and killed a female zoo keeper in their enclosure at a wildlife park in Sweden. The 30-year-old woman had worked there for three years and had looked after the pack of wolves since they were puppies.

The incident happened on June 17 at Kolmarden, the biggest wildlife park in the Nordic region, located around 93 miles south of Stockholm. Founded in 1965, it is one of the most popular attractions in Sweden, with more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Witnesses reported that a woman entered Kolmården Zoo’s wolf enclosure and was swiftly surrounded by a pack of the animals.

Eight wolves set upon the woman, and emergency services were unable to provide assistance because of fears for their own safety.

From The Telegraph:

“She was so badly hurt in the attack that she died of her injuries,” said a police spokesman for the Ostergotland district, where the Kolmarden park is located.


The woman’s body was recovered after rescue workers and park staff entered the enclosure, forcing the animals back while an armed park official stood by to shoot the wolves in case they attacked again, the website of Norrkoping Newspaper, the local daily, quoted a rescue official as saying.

Local papers claimed that staff were attempting to give the wolves sedatives so that the ambulance crew could provide medical attention.

The Independent reports that Olof Liberg, an expert in wolf behavior at Sweden’s University of Agricultural Sciences, told Swedish news agency TT: “It’s very unusual for something like this to happen, but it has happened before.”

It’s not really surprising that it has happened before: zoo officials don’t know what caused these wolves to attack as they did, but are they forgetting that these are wild animals, and you can’t blame them for doing what they naturally do?

A zoo, or wildlife park, is not a natural environment, and these wolves are forced to be in the same vicinity as humans. Some may argue that this only proves how dangerous wolves are, but the reality is that in the wild, wolves are shy, solitary creatures who prefer to steer clear of humans unless they are desperate for food. Wolves don’t attack humans without good cause, so there has to be some reason these wolves behaved as they did.

Of course, this woman’s death was horrific, but let’s not rush to blame the wolves.

So far, no decision had been made to kill any of the wolves involved. What do you think? Who is to blame for this tragic death?

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Photo Credit: RickardSjoden

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12:28PM PDT on Sep 27, 2012

a tragedy, but one that is definitely likely when dealing with wild animals. they are WOLVES. not cute little puppies. it's in their nature. that they are in a zoo is sad too (even if it is necessary) because it's unnatural. their behavior is to be expected. a caged animal is often an aggressive one

11:28PM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

The park owners and administrators are to blame for this tragedy! There have been numerous reports made by employees about lack of security (several incidents have been reported to both the park and authoroties and the park have been ordered to enhance security). For instance, there should always be two persons present when it's necessary to enter an enclosure. The administrators have cut back on that to save money not having to employ more people. The real responsibility lies on the owners of the park, that rather risk people's lifes than cut back on their profits!

7:44AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Who's to blame for this tragic death? Humans! How many more tragedies have to occur before we get it....wild animals are unpredictable. They belong in the wild.

12:13PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

I hope these wolves are not killed. They are being killed at alarming rates to begin with. Perhaps these wolves belonged in the wild and not in a zoo to begin with?

4:25AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

the wolves should not be killed. Their environment is not natural, any animal, or human animal for that matter, can turn at a moments notice for no good reason, in the blink of an eye.

7:11AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Wolves are but creatures who live in the wild. They cannot be confined in a limited space. Wolves, unlike dogs though they belong to the same family, do not have a sense of bonding with people. They live in packs. They avoid humans as far as possible. Tragedies like this happen because people really don't understand these animals. Human beings have robbed them of much of their habitats and their food sources. The Swedish government (as well as the US and the Canadian governments) must return the wild habitats of the wolves and leave them alone. When humans interfere the results are often unpleasant. Give back the wolves their land and their food sources.

3:16PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

It's sad that the wolves' wild habitat is disappearing and they need to be kept in zoos at all, but these are wild animals and there is always the risk that someone could get hurt when interacting with them like that.

6:12AM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

Colleen, if you watched "Rise of Black Wolf", the kill rate is far below 50% and they can go for a long time, up to two weeks without a meal at all. They will resort to eating small rodents and even stealing kills as scavengers just to survive. Born in captivity or being orphaned cubs raised in captivity, little difference except if the female wolf was part of the raising of the animals and what approach the handlers took. Even IF the handlers interacted with them and treated them as "dogs", they still are wild animals. They still have the instincts of their ancestors, just would lack the knowledge to use those instincts. That is why Shaun Ellis lived right alongside them, mimiking the alpha's role and teaching them how to howl and hunt, and ate alongside them. His 3 were orphan cubs and had no parent to teach them.

7:25AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Donald T. said it better than I could and I agree 1000%: "While I find this tragic and somewhat surprising considering the history between the woman and the pack, the limitations and confinement of the park may not be conducive to behaviours to be expected or anticipated in an otherwise 'normal' situation, a situation where a 'keeper' is not likely to be coming and going and interacting as a human in wolf 'territory'. I do sympathize for the woman and her family, and I sympathize for the trapped zoo-ed captive wolves yearning to be free and home on the range where they should be. Regardless, sad and tragic."

4:27AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

sad news but thanks for sharing

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