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?
Photo Credit: RickardSjoden