Elephant crushes Australian zookeeper
updated 4:21 AM EDT, Fri October 19, 2012
An image of young male elephant Pathi Harn taken two weeks after his birth at Taronga Zoo on March 10, 2010.
- Zookeeper crushed after elephant pins her to post in Australian zoo
- Taronga Zoo investigating why the elephant "challenged the keeper"
- Calf involved was known as the "miracle" elephant born in 2010
- The Asian elephant was conceived as part of the zoo's breeding program
(CNN) -- A female zookeeper was seriously injured Friday after being "pinned" to a post by a young male Asian elephant during a routine training session at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
Two other keepers rushed to the woman's aid after they heard her cries and moved the elephant away, the zoo said in a statement.
The woman was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but is now stable in intensive care. She has not been identified out of respect for her family's privacy, the zoo said.
The elephant involved was a two-and-half-year-old male calf called Pathi Harn, which means "miracle" in Thai. The calf was given the name after being born alive, even after experts pronounced him dead in the womb following a difficult eight-day labor.
The calf -- initially referred to as "Mr Shuffles" due to his odd gait -- was conceived by artificial insemination as part of the zoo's elephant breeding and conservation program.
At the time of his birth in March 2010, the young male weighed 116 kilograms and one year later tipped the scales at just over 500kgs.
It's unknown at this time why the young elephant challenged the keeper. The public were not at risk at any time
The zoo said it doesn't know what provoked the calf. "It's unknown at this time why the young elephant challenged the keeper. The public were not at risk at any time and the elephants are now in their paddock at the zoo."
WorkCover, a New South Wales government agency "promoting productive, healthy and safe workplaces," is investigating the incident.
"Initial enquiries indicate that the zoo keeper suffered serious crush injuries while working in the elephant enclosure," the agency said in a press release.
The Sydney zoo is home to eight elephants, some of whom have rehabilitated from domestic elephant camps in Thailand.
According to the zoo's website, their enclosure includes deep and shallow swimming pools, mud wallows, sleeping mounds, shaded areas, scratching posts and logs.
Every morning, "the elephants and keepers walk around the exhibit paddocks and in the Zoo grounds for exercise and physical activity," the website said.
It added: "A scientific study conducted during 2006-2007 found that Taronga Zoo's elephants had an activity profile that closely matched behaviors, exercise and foraging activities of wild elephants."
The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are around 30,000 Asian elephants left in the world. Of those, nearly 30% are in captivity.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.