4 May 2012

Franklin Zoo to close while keeper death investigated

1:31 pm on 4 May 2012

The zoo near Auckland where an elephant killed its keeper is closing while the Department of Labour investigates the death.

Helen Schofield, 42, died being crushed by the animal at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary in Tuakau on 25 April.

Auckland Zoo took over the running of the sanctuary temporarily following the death.

On Friday Franklin Zoo announced it would close during the investigation which is expected to take up to six months.

The zoo is trying to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to send the elephant named Mila to a sanctuary in the United States.

Auckland Zoo spokesperson Kevin Buley says his staff will continue to look after the animals.

He says decisions on the long-term future of the Franklin facility are in the hands of its staff and the Ministry for Primary Industries.