New Zealand zookeeper killed by African elephant

An African elephant has killed a zookeeper caring for her at the New Zealand zoo where the animal was retired after performing in circuses for decades.

Police officers were called to the Franklin Zoo near Auckland on Wednesday afternoon after an incident between the elephant and the keeper, a New Zealand Police statement said. It said more information would not be released until the woman's family had been informed.

Wednesday was a public holiday in New Zealand, but the zoo was open, like many tourist attractions.

It was not immediately clear whether any visitors saw the events unfold. A woman who answered the zoo's telephone late Wednesday said the zoo had no comment.

Jumbo, also known as Mila, is the sole elephant at the Franklin Zoo, according to its website. The 39-year-old elephant arrived four years ago after performing in circuses for three decades. The zoo built a new enclosure for her in 2010.

African elephants are the world's largest land creatures. According to the National Geographic magazine, they can live for up to 70 years, tend to sleep very little, and eat up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of food every day.

The zoo is located in Tuakau, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) southeast of Auckland.