Woman killed in wolf attack at Kolmården

Photo:Fredrik Sandberg/Sacnpix

The head of Kolmården Wildlife Park says it is still unclear why a pack of wolves attacked and killed a zoo keeper at the park just an hour after opening on Sunday. 

Mats Höggren told a press conference late on Sunday afternoon that the 30-year-old keeper broke no rules by being alone when she went into the wolf pen this morning. Security procedures at the park will now be reviewed.

Published söndag 17 juni 2012 kl 14:37
Updated, söndag 17 juni 2012 kl 17:19

Mats Höggren said that his colleagues thought something was wrong when the woman broke radio contact when she was in the pen. News Agency TT reports that there are eight wolves in the pack and it is not known which one made the first attack. 

"The wolves are usually not aggressive, but we have had several small incidents with play which has gone overboard," Höggren says.

There are around 150 people employed at Kolmården which is Sweden's largest wildlife park. A crisis centre has been opened for staff at the park.

Jan Tengeborg, head of emergency services in Östergötland told reporters that it was difficult to get into the pen to reach the injured woman.

"We could not go in to reach the person who was injured, on the one hand because of the wolves who were around the body but also because of the number of shocked people there," Jan Tengeborg said.

"We had to take care of those who were shocked and had seen the attack." 

Jonas Wahlström, animal expert at Skansen open air museum and animal park in Stockholm told Expressen newspaper that it is almost unheard of for a wolf to kill a human.

"The last time a wolf killed someone in Sweden was at the beginning of the 1800's. That happened in a similar place, a protected area in an animal park...I would never believe this could happen."

He said that he had visited the protected area at Kolmården where the public can come in close contact with the wolves.

"I myself have been there several times. They have been as playfull as alsation dogs," he says.

Another wolf expert gave his view to the media following the tragic accident.

"It is unusual for such a thing to happen, but it has happened before. The animals at the park are not scared of humans and accidents can happen, " says Olof Liberg, wolf expert at Sweden's agricultural sciences university to news agency TT.

He has not examined the case but says that accidents often occur when routine guidelines are broken and it is always dangerous when a staff member goes in alone. The dangers can also be forgotten on the grounds of the wolves charm.

None of the wolves have been put down.

" A problem with wolves is that people are so fond of them," says Liberg.

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