A zookeeper at an Australian zoo was kicked and scratched while attempting to feed an emu on Wednesday morning, according to ABC News.
Cecil the emu had been off food for a week when the woman, said to be in her 20s, went into the private area to feed him and was attacked, the zoo reported in a statement. (RELATED: Toddler Injured After Falling Into Rhino Exhibit And ‘Making Contact’ With One Of The Animals)
Injuries from Cecil’s scratches on the zookeeper’s face and arms were described as “minor” by the zoo, but an ambulance was called “as a precaution.” She was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a stable condition.
The woman could be back to work by tomorrow and Cecil, who joined the zoo in 2016, could be back on display before the end of the week, said zoo curator Mark Smith. (RELATED: Zoo Under Attack For Bringing A Bear To Get Ice Cream At Dairy Queen)
“Emus are like any wild animal, they can be really gentle and occasionally they can behave in a way that you don’t expect,” said Smith.
Smith also said that the zoo has a “very strict” incident response policy and that all staff would be made aware of the incident.
“We always have to be very respectful of the fact that it is a wild animal and just really exercise caution around them,” warned Smith.
A native to Australia, the emu is the second-largest living bird behind the ostrich. Even though they can’t fly, the emu can sprint up to 50 kilometers per hour. (RELATED: A Congress Of Roughly 50 Baboons Escape French Zoo, Prompting Armed Police Response)
The emu altercation is not the first attack at a zoo this week. Two days prior, a woman was attacked by a jaguar in an Arizona zoo after climbing over a barrier, supposedly to get a closer selfie with the animal. After the jaguar reached through the enclosure and left deep gashes into her arm, the woman was taken to the hospital with non-threatening injuries.