The zoo keeper who suffered serious neck and facial injuries after being attacked by two lions has been identified.
Jennifer Brown was the experienced keeper rushed to hospital on Friday in a critical condition after the “extremely vicious” attack at Shoalhaven Zoo in Nowra, on the NSW South Coast, Daily Telegraph reported.
The 35-year-old had been cleaning the enclosure at the time when she was set on about 10.20am, with the zoo still closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Brown was airlifted to St George Hospital and remains in a critical condition.
NSW Ambulance duty operations manager Faye Stockmen described the attack as "absolutely harrowing", adding it was frightening to be the first to walk into the lion's den to treat the woman.
“This is one of the worst jobs I have ever experienced – I have never come across a job like this in my career,” Ms Stockmen said in a statement.
“The attack was extremely vicious and paramedics found the woman with severe injuries.”
Police Detective Superintendent Greg Moore said the two male lions were secured shortly after the attack and there was no further risk to people.
When asked if the lions would be put down, he said police will look into what happened and it was too early to pre-empt an outcome of that investigation.
“Fortunately lion attacks are rare in this part of the world,” he told reporters on Friday.
“We will be working with authorities to make sure if there's anything we can do to make these types of establishments safer, we will be doing our best to support that.”
It's not the first animal attack at Shoalhaven Zoo.
In 2014, a crocodile dragged a male handler into the water during a school holiday feeding show. The man suffered a minor hand injury.
Shoalhaven Zoo has been contacted for comment and SafeWork NSW has been notified of the incident.
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