Montreal

Granby lion attack caused by human error, investigation finds

Quebec's workplace health and safety board has confirmed the initial hypothesis on how a 14-year-old lion at the Granby Zoo mauled a zookeeper earlier in August.

Hydraulic door used to separate lion, zookeeper accidentally left open, Quebec safety board says

(Granby Zoo/Facebook)

Quebec's workplace health and safety board has confirmed the initial hypothesis on how a 14-year-old lion at the Granby Zoo mauled a zookeeper earlier this month.

The incident happened during mealtime after the zookeeper brought the lion's food into an isolated corridor, said the safety board, known by its French acronym, CNESST.

Normally, once the food is there, the worker leaves the corridor, and the animal is let inside. In this case, however, the hydraulic door separating the worker and the lion was accidentally left open.

The lion attacked the woman, leaving her with a broken neck and serious lacerations. 

A few days after the incident, she was discharged from the hospital, and the director of the zoo told CNESST she plans to return to work shortly.

The safety board found the door was left open due to human error.

Additional security measures

Nathalie Dufour, a spokeswoman for CNESST, said the zoo already had security measures in place leading up to the attack.

"They're already applying this policy, and they've also boosted their security measures," she said.

The zoo has introduced a new policy to prevent such incidents in future.

"Since the day of the accident, we now ask two zookeepers to be with the lions, to make sure that procedures are followed," said Hélène Plamondon, director of sales, marketing and communications for the zoo.

As well, additional measures are in place to make sure the lion's trap door isn't left open by accident again.

Visitors observe the lions at the Granby Zoo. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

Dufour said it's too early to determine whether the zoo will face sanctions.

All three lions at the Granby Zoo were back in their usual enclosure on Wednesday. 

With files from Antoni Nerestant

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