The Jakarta Post
A veterinarian at a zoo in Wonogiri, Central Java, died on Wednesday after being gored and trampled by an elephant in her care.
The elephant attacked Esthi Octavia “Via” Warahapsari, 25, in the zoo at Gajah Mungkur Reservoir where she worked, as she reportedly attempted to take a selfie photo in front of the animal.
The incident occurred when Via with three elephant handlers named Febri, Umar and Arif accompanied two elephants, female elephant Panamsari and male Panamtu on a walk around the reservoir at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
During the walk, Via tried to take the photo about a meter in front of the male elephant. However, the elephant suddenly gored Via, flinging her three meters, and causing Arif, who was riding Panamtu, to fall from the elephant's back.
Despite the elephant handlers and local food vendors trying to help Via, the 5.5-ton Panamptu continued the attack. Via managed to run for a while, but she slipped and was trampled by the elephant.
Zoo officials rushed her to Soediran Mangun Sumarso Hospital in Wonogiri but she succumbed to her injuries on the way to the hospital.
Via graduated from Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java, in 2013. She had worked for Gajah Mungkur zoo for six months as a contract employee taking care of the two elephants given to the zoo by Central Java's Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSD).
Senthot Sujarwoko, the head of Wonogori Culture, Tourism, Youth and Sports Agency, said Via and the elephant handlers had bathed and fed the two elephants before the incident took place. The activities had been ongoing on for the past month to introduce the elephants to their new environment.
"I don't know exactly what caused the incident. Was the elephant shocked when it was photographed or was there another cause? We’ll leave it to the police to investigate," he said.
Based on the zoo officials' report Via had taken care of the elephants almost every day since they were transferred to Gajah Mungkur zoo in April from the Central Java BKSD.
Wonogiri Police chief Cmr. Fachruddin said the police were currently investigating the incident location and were looking to find out whether taking photos of elephants in close proximity was dangerous.
Separately Soediran Mangun Sumarso Hospital deputy director Pratikto Widodo said Via was dead upon arrival at the hospital as a result of her severe injuries. From a medical examination she was found to have suffered fractures to her ribs and legs. There was also severe bruising on her abdomen and head and she had internal hemorrhaging, Pratikto said. (rin)
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