Ohio Zookeeper Recovering After Being Attacked by Cheetah at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
An Ohio zookeeper was attacked by a cheetah at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Thursday morning.
The incident occurred just after 10 a.m. when two staff members were talking the cheetah, named Isabelle, from the facility she lives in to a behind-the-scenes yard for her daily exercise, the zoo told WSYX.
"At this time, Isabelle's care team had her sit and she was calm and purring. The team invited the keeper to approach closer," the zoo said in a statement to the news station.
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"When the keeper approached them, Isabelle crouched down and lunged toward the Heart of Africa keeper, who works around giraffes and other hoofstock. We believe that, due to normal animal behavior, the scent of these other animals on the keeper triggered a natural instinct in Isabelle, who reacted," the zoo said.
The staff member was taken to an area hospital, where they were treated and released, according to CNN.
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The zoo told CNN this is Isabelle's first incident and "she shares a close bond with her care team."
The cheetah will now be held in quarantine for 30 days to make sure she doesn't show signs of illness. Once her isolation period is over, she will return to the Heart of Africa exhibit at the zoo, CNN reports.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
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