Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Elephant Attacks Trainer at Toledo Zoo

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM

A Toledo Zoo elephant trainer is still in the hospital after this attack by Louie the elephant three weeks ago. Trainer Don Redfox suffered life-threatening injuries after the elephant, who he had been with since Louie was born almost seven years ago, pinned him on the ground and attacked him.

The frightening encounter was caught on video which was released yesterday by the Toledo Zoo. What made Louie turn on his trainer? Experts at the zoo think he didn't attack to kill, but attacked in a form of play fighting, which doesn't make the scene any less scary.

According to the AP:

Baker said the elephant could have killed Redfox at any time, and that is why she and another elephant expert who reviewed the video think that Louie was play-fighting.

"The problem is Louie weighs over 4,000 pounds," she said.

Zoo officials have not been able to talk with Redfox, who faces a long recovery, according to his doctors.

Baker praised Redfox's knowledge of elephants and wouldn't criticize his decision to go into enclosure after he first startled the elephant.

"I'm not going to speculate on that because we don't know the why," she said. "The keeper has to do a good job of reading the animal and determine what's safe."

Louie has been the face of the zoo since he was born in Toledo in April 2003, becoming just the 38th African elephant born in captivity in the United States.

Redfox is expected to recover and probably go back to playing with 4,000-pound animals.

Tags: , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation