A ZOOKEEPER was mauled by a 31-stone gorilla she had known since he was born after she “surprised” him as he was about to eat his breakfast.
She suffered head injuries, chest trauma and multiple fractures, including two broken arms, and was rushed to the Madrid Clinical Hospital in a serious condition.
The gorilla broke through three “secure” doors and started violently shaking the 46-year-old, who had helped raise the powerful primate from birth.
Several other keepers then stormed into his enclosure and managed to drive the gorilla back using fire extinguishers to rescue their colleague.
Malabo was then shot with a tranquiliser dart and taken to a nearby cage.
The zoo later revealed the attack was sparked when the keeper “surprised” Malabo just as he was about to eat.
“He shook her but without using all the enormous strength of which he is capable with his 200 kilos of weight,” said spokesperson María José Luis.
The coastal gorilla was raised in the popular animal park with a bottle and is “much loved” by its keepers, added the Zoo.
The Municipal Police of Madrid have taken over the investigation as it is classified as a work accident.
A statement issued by the zoo said: “Given the event that occurred this morning with a gorilla keeper from the Madrid Zoo, we share our official note and our wishes for a speedy recovery for this worker.
“The events took place this morning, around 10am when a keeper with 19 years of experience at the zoo accessed the indoor facilities for the usual breakfast routine, cleaning and preparing the facilities.
“Upon entering a secure area with a triple door, the caretaker met Malabo, a 29-year-old male gorilla, who had accessed it.”
How the animal was able to break through the three doors is being investigated.
The statement said the area where the keeper was attacked had no access to the public.
The zoo said the emergency protocol was quickly activated, notifying an emergency team and cops.
The zoo’s statement read: “The zoo team managed to remove the animal and later, the veterinary team anaesthetised the animal with a tranquiliser dart.
“Note that Malabo has been raised by his caregivers since he was born with a protective behaviour towards the group and close to his caregivers.
“At this time, the caregiver has a reserved prognosis and the first thing is to wish her a speedy recovery.
“Today, the gorilla facilities will remain closed so that both Malabo and the rest of the group are calm.”