• Wildebeest attacks, injures woman at Iredell Co. zoo

    By: Eric Philips


    IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. - A woman attacked by an exotic animal at a zoo is out of the hospital and recovering Monday night.

    The harmless motion sparked the attack that happened in front of dozens of school children.
    Scottie Brown said what happened to his bookkeeper Kimberly Hillman was a painful lesson to learn.
    His staff was taking school children on the drive on a wagon through Zootastic in Iredell County Oct. 27 when a mother arrived late with her children.
    The wagons had just left.
    “I radioed her and said I saw the lady so Kim said, 'Well, I'll just bring them down in my car,'” Brown said. “So she brought them down and when she got out of the car she was walking the kids to the wagon. The wildebeest came over and she shooed it.”
    That action caused the wildebeest to be aggressive.
    “It hit her, threw her up in the air. She hit (the) ground, it picked her up again and threw her up in the air, and I was getting off the tractor at the time and I ran and got between her and the wildebeest,” Brown said. “It happened because she got out of her car and I guess for that matter, it could have happened to the mother and child? Oh yes, yes.”
    Hillman spent about a week in the hospital recovering. She has a black eye from the attack among other injuries.
    Brown said this is the first time anyone has ever gotten hurt at Zootastic and he plans on it being the last by making sure that he strictly enforces the rules that are already in place. That means that no one is inside of the grounds are allowed outside of a wagon or other vehicle.
    “It was a total misdirection of what we normally do here and it will never happen again," he said.

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