20 Shocking Zoo Attacks You Wouldn’t Believe



The zoo can be a wonderful place to take the family on an afternoon retreat, but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, when you cage a wild animal, bad things can, and often do, happen. In time, almost every single zoo is open to an attack or an accident. These are just twenty of the hundreds of cases where a zoo attack has made the papers and shocked the entire world. Be wary when you’re leaning over the fence at the tiger pen to snap a picture. Your footing might give way.

Binky The Polar Bear

In 1994, Australian tourist Kathryn Warburton found herself in a horrible situation after she scaled not one, but two safety fences to get a better photo of Binky, a 1,200 pound polar bear. The bear stuck his head through the bars, grabbing Warburton’s leg. She suffered a broken leg and multiple lacerations.

Melody The Tapir

In November of 1998, zookeeper Lisa Morehead was feeding a Malayan tapir named Melody, who happened to be the brand new mother of a baby. Melody ended up biting the arm of Morehead, causing facial lacerations and internal injuries, including a punctured lung. The arm was torn off mid-bicep and could not be reattached.

Wolf Center, 1996

In 1996, 24-year-old Patricia Wyman, a wildlife biologist, was hired by the Wolf Center to conduct education programs with the public. Wyman had entered the wolf enclosure twice prior to her attack. Patricia is said to have triggered their predatory instincts in some way. She was discovered nude and covered in many bite marks, with flesh from her arms and legs torn from her body. The wolves were put down.

Gu Gu

Unfortunately, Gu Gu the Giant Panda was the cause of multiple attacks. One in 2006, one in 2007, and one in 2009. In each attack, Gu Gu went for the legs of his victim’s, tearing chunks of flesh from their body and maiming all, including a 15-year-old boy.

Mila the Elephant

In 2012, a 39-year-old Africa elephant, who had previously spent almost 3 decades as a circus performer, was in Franklin Zoo, New Zealand. Zoo owner Helen Schofield had planned to transfer her to a sanctuary, but was crushed by the trunk of the giant mammal.

Jabari the Gorilla

In 2004, Jabari the Gorilla was surrounded by a 16-foot concave wall when he was taunted by a group of children. Jabari scaled the wall and began a rampage, attacking four people, including a 26-year-old mother and her 3-year-old son. Jabari had the child in his mouth and was chewing its head and chest at one point. SWAT put him down.

Nyanaga the Lion

In 2012, staff shortages at the Parys Zoo Farm forced Joe Ramonetha out of retirement to help tend the lions. While in the hallway of the lion enclosure, Ramonetha was attacked by Nyanga. The lion bit him through the neck, killing him. Nyanga was spared.

Tilikum the Orca

In 2010, the 12,000 pound Orca, Tilikum, was working with a trainer, Dawn Brancheau, at SeaWorld Orlando when the worst happened. Tilikum grabbed hold of the trainer, pulling her into the water. Brancheau died of drowning and blunt force trauma, including broken bones and a severed spinal cord. Tilikum performs to this day.

Painted Dogs, 2012

In 2012, a 2-year-old was sitting atop the railing of the African Wild Dogs exhibit in the Pittsburgh Zoo. Maddock Derkosh tumbled off the railing and into the pen, where he was immediately attacked by 3 of the dogs. Zoo workers forced the animals away, but it was too late. The 2-year-old boy died from the attack.

Zanesville Massacre

In 2011, one of the worst massacres of animals occurred. Terry Thompson, 61, loved to collect exotic animals. However, Thompson took his own life on October 18, 2011. Police responded to a call of wild animals stalking the grounds, where they found a white tiger chewing Thompson’s body. The police killed 2 wolves, 2 grizzly bears, 18 tigers, 17 lions, 6 black bears, 3 mountain lions, and 2 monkeys. A mass grave was constructed.

Berlin Zoo, Polar Bear, 2009

In 2009, a young woman jumped the fence at the Berlin Zoo to get a closer look at the polar bear during feeding time. The woman attempted to grab life preservers and ropes thrown to her while trapped in the moat, but the bear repeatedly bit her back and butt.

Singapore Zoo, 2008, White Tigers

In 2008, three white Bengal tigers mauled a zoo cleaner when he walked through a moat in their enclosure. The man did not resist as the group of tigers clawed and bit his chest and neck. Sadly, he died on the way to the hospital.

San Francisco Zoo, 2007, Tiger

On Christmas Day of 2007, a 350-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana escaped its cage. The tiger mauled three men during the escape, killing one of them.

Copenhagen Zoo, 2012, Siberian Tiger

In 2012, a 21-year-old man was killed after entering the Siberian tiger exhibit at the Copenhagen Zoo. The Danish citizen suffered multiple bites to the throat, face, chest, and thigh. No one understands how he entered the pen, but suicide was considered.

1989, Lion

In 1989, Australian Ellie Quo sought out martial arts mastership by fighting wild animals. His instructor said he could “kill wild animals with your bare hands.” Quo wanted to test this. After sneaking into the Melbourne Zoo, Quo tried to fight a lion. Only his hands were discovered the next morning.

Tiger Honor

Two men thought it smart to honor a Bengal tiger by the name of Shiva the Destroyer. The two snuck over the moat at the Calcutta Zoo to enter the enclosure and present the tiger with a flower garland for the New Year. The male Bengal Tiger attacked, killing one of the men and injuring the other.

Little Thieves

Zheng Dong was snapping photographs with his smartphone at the Fuzhou Zoo in China when one of the monkeys stole his phone from his hands. Dong attempted to retrieve his phone, but was mauled by the group of monkeys within the enclosure.

Drunken Bear

Tracey Weiler, 47, decided to get drunk with her boyfriend and take her three-year-old to the zoo to check out the wildlife. At the Lincoln Zoo, Weiler thought the bears weren’t getting nearly enough to eat, so she crossed the line to feed her berries. Weiler lost her fingers instead.

Lost Arms

50-year-old Jay Prakash Bezbaruah decided to stop at the Guwahati Zoo to take pictures of a female lion. The lion grabbed hold of his arm, and was quickly joined by the male lion. The two mammals ripped his left arm from his body. He died of his injuries before arriving at the hospital.

Monkey Moat

After escaping the confines of his clothing, a crazed man jumped into a monkey enclosure and swam through the moat. The group of monkeys attacked the man, leaving a blood trail in the water as he tried to swim back. He survived the mauling.