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Lioness attacks keeper at Detroit zoo*

**5/26/08: 10 a.m.: In the meantime, the Chicago Tribune reports that a zoo keeper in South Bend, Indiana, was attacked by a leopard Saturday as she cleaned the big cat's holding area. Her injuries were not serious.

In case you wonder why we call them wild animals, check out some news from the Detroit Free Press:

In Katie's 15 years at the Detroit Zoo, the lioness has never been in close contact with her keepers thanks to a pulley system that remotely ushers the big cats from outside to their indoor habitat.

But for an unknown reason, the 16-year-old lioness came too close to her handler Saturday.

Katie scratched and bit her keeper shortly after the zoo closed at 5 p.m. The injured keeper, Brett Kipley, who's in his 20s and has worked at the zoo for a couple years, was taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak for treatment of his injuries, which did not require surgery. After receiving stitches, he was scheduled to stay overnight at the hospital, zoo spokeswoman Patricia Mills Janeway told the Free Press.

Zoo officials said they were perplexed by the situation. "We don't know what happened to allow the keeper and her in the same space at the same time," said Scott Carter, the zoo's director of conservation and animal welfare. "We will be investigating what exactly happened."

To watch an interview with Scott Carter, check out station WXYZ.

-- Alice Short

 
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