Lion bites staffer at Canadian zoo in the back

The Canadian incident followed two US animal attacks in recent months. File photo / Wellington Zoo
The Canadian incident followed two US animal attacks in recent months. File photo / Wellington Zoo

A lion has bitten a zoo worker in Canada in the back as it was being prepared for exhibition and has been put in isolation until the zoo decides what to do with it, an official said.

The worker at the Granby Zoo east of Montreal suffered a fracture in today's attack, but was conscious and in stable condition in hospital, director general Paul Gosselin told reporters.

Gosselin said the zookeeper was bitten in the back. "At this point we don't have the exact diagnosis," he said.

It was not immediately clear how the attack occurred, though Gosselin said the employee had been preparing the female lion for exhibition before the incident.

The zoo worker is in her 20s and has been with the organisation since 2011, Gosselin said. He said the zoo would be contacting experts in the United States before making a decision about what to do with the lion, which is one of three kept by the zoo.

All three lions had been isolated and were made unavailable for public viewing after the attack. When asked whether the zoo considered killing the lion during the incident, Gosselin said that was not necessary as another employee was able to get it away from the victim by spraying it with a water hose.

A zoo spokeswoman declined to identify the zookeeper or the lion.

An investigation will be done by Quebec's workplace safety board, which could not be immediately reached for comment.

Two other attacks by animals have drawn public attention in recent months. In June, an alligator snatched away a 2-year-old boy in front of his family at Walt Disney World in Florida. The boy died. In May, a 3-year-old boy fell into an enclosure with a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Zookeepers killed the gorilla to protect the child.

- Reuters, AAP

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