Bear kills zookeeper at Sweden's Orsa Rovdjurspark

image source, EPA
image captionVisitors gather at the entrance to the park, which was later closed for the day

A 19-year-old zookeeper has been mauled to death by a bear at a wildlife park in central Sweden.

The animal, reportedly a two-year-old brown bear, was shot dead after the attack at the Orsa Rovdjurspark.

The bear was said to have dug its way back into its enclosure, which the zookeeper was cleaning. The park has been closed for the rest of the day.

Orsa Rovdjurspark says it is Europe's "largest predator park", with a variety of bears, leopards and tigers.

The park said the zookeeper, who has not been named, was cleaning the enclosure ahead of a special activity, where guests get to go inside the enclosure with a zookeeper, The Local reported.

It was supposed to be empty but the bear appeared to have tunnelled its way back in.

Emergency services were called to the park, in the central county of Dalarna, at about 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT) and treated the man at the scene but he died later of his injuries.

The park's head, Sven Brunberg, said: "It started out as a normal day, a family had booked the activity and normal routines were followed. I'll leave it to the police to work out what went wrong."

Officers are investigating whether proper safety procedures were followed.

The park insisted no guests were at risk.

Orsa Rovdjurspark lists Kodiak, polar and brown bears among its animals, along with snow leopards and Siberian tigers, and offers "close encounters with powerful animals".

Many of its species are endangered.

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