TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida zookeeper is recovering from burns he received while saving a rhinoceros from a wildfire that threatened his animal sanctuary.
Local media organizations report NGALA Wildlife Preserve President and CEO Donovan Smith remained at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday after sustaining second-degree burns over 18 percent of his body last week.
The fire began to close in Friday on the wildlife refuge in Naples, southwest Florida, burning about 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares). Smith posted on Facebook that staff members saved all of the more than 40 animals there.
He says he was working with fire rescue crews to save Walter, an 8-year-old rhino, at the time he was burned. But he said in his post Saturday on Facebook that it was worth enduring the pain to protect the animals.