Camel Bites Minnesota Zoo Worker, Drags Him 15 Feet by the Head Before Biting Another Employee


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A Minnesota zoo worker is recovering after a camel bit him on the head.

Just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office responded to a call of an animal bite at Hemker Park & Zoo, which is located in the small town of Freeport, near St. Cloud.

Upon arriving at the scene, deputies learned that the victim, identified as Roger Blenker, was escorting a camel through an alleyway to prepare it for transport to another facility, according to a news release from the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.

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"During the process, the camel placed Blenker's head into its mouth, biting down on his head. The camel then dragged Blenker by the head approximately fifteen feet," the news release stated.

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A second employee, identified as Seth Wickson, stepped in to intervene by placing a plastic walking board into the camel's mouth to release its bite from Blenker's head, police say. After Blenker, 32, was freed from the camel's bite, he was able to stand on his own and run to safety.

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However, the camel then charged at Wickson, 32, and bit his head. He was able to get to a safe location on his own and refused any medical treatment, according to police.

PEOPLE has reached out to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office for comment.

Blenker was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital by Life Link Helicopter and is expected to make a full recovery.

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"Our owner did sustain minor injuries," Hemker Park & Zoo wrote in a statement on Facebook shortly after the incident occurred. "The camel was not injured during the interaction and remains in good health. We thank you all for your continued support."

In a separate update posted on their Facebook page Wednesday evening, the zoo wrote, "The owner has been examined by the medical providers and per protocol he had to be transferred. He has been alert, oriented and able to move around with some minor injuries that are all non-life threatening ... We want to thank all of the medical providers and the support and prayers from everyone. It is greatly appreciated."

PEOPLE has reached out to Hemker Park & Zoo for additional comment.

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office was assisted by Melrose Ambulance and the Freeport Fire Department.

The incident remains under investigation. The zoo is still open to the public.