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The State

A San Francisco Zoo veterinarian suffered a broken pelvis when an Asian elephant reportedly attacked her while she was treating an abscess on the animal’s head. Zookeepers said Gail Hedberg, a five-year veteran at the zoo, had been treating 3 1/2-ton Tinkerbelle, one of the zoo’s two Asian elephants, when the animal became angry and did a “handstand” on her. Keepers defended Tinkerbelle, saying the 22-year-old elephant had been beaten routinely by her previous handlers. Paul Hunter, a keeper at the zoo for nine years, said the abscess on Tinkerbelle’s head was caused by someone hitting her too hard with a hooked instrument called an ankuf.


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