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Report: Zookeeper loses finger after violating protocol

ALBUQUERQUE – An internal investigation determined a hyena bit off the finger of an Albuquerque zookeeper after the worker violated zoo protocol.

Surveillance video obtained by Albuquerque television station KOB-TV shows the worker entering the hyena enclosure and poking her fingers through the chain link fence. It shows one of the animals biting down on the zookeeper’s hand and refusing to let go.

Security records say the zookeeper’s middle finger was eaten.

City officials said a thorough investigation was done of the November incident and appropriate actions were taken, but they declined to discuss what they described as personnel matters.

“ABQ BioPark professionals care for almost 130 different species, including some that can be dangerous and require specialized care and safety,” the city said in a statement. “Despite stringent protocols, dangerous outcomes can still result any time humans are caring for wild animals.”

The hyena remains in its enclosure and officials said there’s no threat to other staffers or the public.