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San Diego Zookeeper Injured by Antelope

November 24, 2003|Tony Perry | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — A 33-year-old animal keeper at the San Diego Zoo was attacked by a male antelope Sunday morning as the animal was being taken to the veterinarian's area for care, officials said.

The keeper, whose name was not released, was taken to a nearby hospital after being struck by the animal's straight, spike-like horns. Although surgery was not required, doctors decided she should stay at the hospital overnight for observation, officials said.

The incident occurred while the keeper and others were attempting to move the yellow-backed duiker into the veterinarian's area.

The animal rammed the woman in the knee, knocking her to the ground. When she tried to get to her feet, the animal rammed her in the stomach before running away.

The zoo has several duikers -- small, short-legged antelopes found in various areas of Africa. Duikers are known as shy, nocturnal animals.

"He's never shown any aggression toward humans before," zoo spokeswoman Yadira Galindo said of the duiker. "We don't know what happened." The duiker has been separated from others of its species while an investigation is launched.

It is not uncommon for animals to become agitated when they are aware that they are going to the veterinarian's area for treatment, Galindo said. "They can get edgy," she said.

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