Killer elephant's fate undecided

2012-04-26 09:01
Wellington - The fate of an elephant that crushed its keeper to death in New Zealand has not been decided, zoo officials said on Thursday, as animal welfare activists called for its life to be spared.

The 3-ton African elephant killed Helen Schofield, its handler and the owner of Franklin Zoo, near Auckland, on Wednesday.

Police have not revealed details of Schofield's death but media reports said the female elephant picked her up with its trunk and squeezed, killing her accidentally, rather than in a deliberate attack.

A spokesperson for Auckland Zoo, which has taken over operations at the Franklin Zoo following Schofield's death, said the elephant's future could not be determined until an investigation into the fatality was completed.

"She's fine, she's being cared for and she's keeping quiet," the spokesperson told AFP.

"But as far as her future goes, we're not making any decisions until the Department of Labour has completed its investigation. We don't know how long that will take."

The 30-year-old elephant was a former circus performer called Jumbo. It was relocated to the Franklin Zoo two years ago and renamed Mila.

Animal rights group Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) said the animal suffered mental trauma during its time at the circus and Schofield had planned to eventually ship it to a sanctuary for retired circus animals in California.

SAFE executive director Hans Kriek said Schofield's wishes should be honoured and the elephant sent to the United States, rather than being put down.

"The ideal outcome is that Mila live the rest of her life with other elephants, to enable her to fully rehabilitate," he said.

"That's the key thing with elephants, they need to live with other elephants because they are such social animals."

Read more on:    new zealand  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Watch out for stressing your body out either through physical strain or mental exhaustion. Keep your goals realistic and find more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.