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October 11, 2013 / V A Nichols

BREAKING: Elephant Kills Veteran Zookeeper at Dickerson Park Zoo

KOLR10 News

KOLR10 News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The senior zoo keeper at Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo has been killed by one of the animals he has handled for years.

Zoo and police officials confirm John Bradford, a 25 year veteran of the zoo, was charged by one of the elephants this morning, and was killed.

Bradford was a senior zoo keeper.  Police say he was feeding the animals at the time of his death.

KOLR10 News talked with Bradford in 2010 after a killer whale killed a keeper at SeaWorld in Orlando.  He talked about the dangers of working with large animals:

“There’s an inherent risk in working at a zoo,” says John Bradford, supervisor of the Asian area. “The deal is you want to minimize those risks if the situation calls for it and an animal is in need with direct contact with keepers, we assess the situation and determine if it’s an acceptable risk or not.”

Police say he had no immediate family in the area, but his brothers have been notified of his death.


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