Wildlife park, former manager face charges over fatal wolf attack
A district prosecutor charged on Thursday the company that owns Kolmården Wildlife Park in Norrköping, and a former manager at the park with manslaughter, after an animal handler was killed by wolves in 2012. Both parties have both denied committing the crime.
It was in the summer of 2012, when a female zoo keeper, in her 30s, was fatally attacked after entering the pen of eight wolves. The wolves had known her since they were pups, and she was alone in their pen when they mauled her.
"We haven't turned over every stone - we've turned over every darn grain of sand," Jan Olof Andersson, the district prosecutor, told news agency TT, calling it a very complex case.
The former manager had responsibility for the work environment in and around the wolf pen, and the prosecutor alleges that the manager is guilty of serious neglect. He adds that the animal park and the manager neglected to check whether there were risks in the work, and that personnel had difficulty escaping the pen if they needed to, and that there was no functioning alarm.
The prosecution holds that Kolmården did not perceive wolves to be dangerous animals, based on a preparedness plan concerning escaping from dangerous animals. But in October of 2011, the manager is said to have gotten information about an incident in which a wolf bit a person.
"There have been earlier incidents and incident reports in which there are examples of guests that have been hurt and personnel who have felt threatened," said Andersson.
If convicted, the former manager faces up to six years in prison, and Kolmården faces fines of SEK 4 million.