An Ohio zookeeper was hospitalized after being attacked by a cheetah.
The incident happened Thursday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, according to WBNS-TV.
Two staff members were walking 4-year-old Isabelle Thursday morning when they encountered another zookeeper on the service road, the station said.
Isabelle’s care team sat her down and reportedly then invited the keeper to approach the big cat. That’s when the cheetah crouched down and lunged at the keeper, according to the report.
The injured employee works around giraffes and other members of the horse family, and zoo officials believe the scents of the those animals triggered a natural instinct in Isabelle, WBNS-TV reported.
“You can train a wild animal, but it is impossible to tame them and it just can’t be done, instinct is so powerful,” Suzi Rapp, Vice President of Animal Programs at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium told the station. “They are a wild animal and we treat them as that.”
Isabelle gave birth to two cubs through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer last year in what was hailed as a scientific breakthrough.
“Izzy is probably one of the most famous cheetahs in the world because a lot of people will know last year we did intro fertilization transfer. Izzy was the recipient of that transfer and 83 days later gave birth to two beautiful perfect cubs, Dave and Adrienne,” Rapp reportedly said.
“That was the first time in the world that science had been successful.”
The zoo will now place the cheetah in a 30-day quarantine to make sure she is not sick, before returning her to her “Heart of Africa” habitat, the CBS affiliate reports.
The zookeeper was reportedly treated and discharged.