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Zebra Attacks Zookeeper At National Zoo

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One of the National Zoo's male zebras. It's unknown if this is the zebra involved in the attack.
Keith Ivey: http://www.flickr.com/photos/17218700@N00/1097065370
One of the National Zoo's male zebras. It's unknown if this is the zebra involved in the attack.

A veteran zookeeper at the National Zoo is being treated at George Washington University Hospital after being attacked this morning by a zebra.

Gumu, an 800-pound male zebra bit the zookeeper several times in the upper body. Officials aren't sure why the keeper was alone with the animal at the time of the attack, which is not usual zoo policy.

"We had another keeper who heard what was going on and rushed to his aid," says spokesperson John Gibbons. "When he left for the hospital in an ambulance, he was conscious and talking."

Gumu has been quarantined. The zoo's two other male zebras, Moyo and Domo, are still visible at the exhibit.

"Keepers are keeping him calm and assessing his temperament and his health to make sure he's OK," Gibbons says. "Our first priority of course is with our animal keeper."

The attack was so violent a gazelle in an adjoining enclosure may have been literally scared to death.

"The noise of the zebra and the keeper combined most likely startled the gazelle, which darted and most likely died from a fracture in the neck from hitting its head," Gibbons says.

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