Zookeeper in serious condition after lion attack

A zookeeper has been airlifted to hospital in a critical condition after she was attacked by two lions at a zoo on the NSW South Coast today.

Emergency services were called to Shoalhaven Zoo on Rock Hill Road in North Nowra just before 10.30am.

A 35-year-old woman was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics for head and neck injuries, before being airlifted to St George Hospital in Sydney in a critical but stable condition.

Police have been told the woman was cleaning the enclosure at the time.

Paramedics including a rescue helicopter crew are treating the zookeeper after the lion attack at Shoalhaven Zoo. (Nine)

Paramedics had to enter the enclosure to retrieve the woman, who was unconscious when they arrived.

Faye Stockmen, duty operations manager at NSW Ambulance, says it was a harrowing operation for paramedics.

“This is one of the worst jobs I have ever experienced – I have never come across a job like this in my career.

“It was absolutely harrowing.  

“It is an incredibly dangerous situations, both for the patient and the paramedics.

“Being the first to walk into the enclosure was one of the most frightening experiences – we literally had to walk into a lion’s den.”


She said the attack was “extremely vicious”.

Officers set up a crime scene and started investigations.

Shoalhaven Zoo is 160 kilometres south of Sydney and has been closed since the start of the coronavirus emergency.

It’s not the first animal attack at the 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.

A spokeswoman for Shoalhaven Zoo told Nine.com.au no one was available for comment.

SafeWork NSW have been notified.

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