Taronga Zoo keeper Lucy Melo has revealed for the first time how she was critically injured by an elephant.
The 40-year-old was crushed by the male calf during a training session last month.
Today she released a letter detailing the events that left her fighting for life.
Melo writes that the elephant, Pathi Harn (also known as Mr Shuffles), started to challenge her during training.
Pathi had just had his daily bath and Melo was training him in the barn.
The session was all going smoothly until the end, when she asked for one last simple behaviour.
Pathi replied with a slightly different behaviour than what she had asked for, so she asked him again.
"When he did not respond, I sensed a behavioural change in him and realised he was thinking of challenging me," Melo wrote.
"I immediately tried to redirect his thoughts by asking him for a different behaviour, and at the same time I was making my way out of the stall."
"Unfortunately, just as I was almost out, he raised his trunk and pinned me against one of the metal bollards."
“His trunk on my chest took my breath away, which made it impossible for me to talk and tell him to stop."
"But my co-workers immediately reacted, and stepped in to move him away from me.”
After Pathi moved he ‘was completely fine’ and acted like nothing had happened.
Melo has made excellent progress in her recovery and she credits the huge amount of support from friends, family, colleagues and total strangers.
"From the bottom of my heart, I just want to let everyone know how extremely grateful I am for all the love and support that was sent to me during my recovery process," Melo wrote.
"The well wishes, cards, flowers, and gifts from friends, family and even complete strangers meant so much to me, and I truly believe it led to my speedy recovery."
Melo says she is looking forward to getting back to work and seeing Pathi Harn again.
She is just waiting for her fractured ribs to heal.To read Lucy's full letter visit the Taronga Zoo website.
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