A crocodile was shot dead after it bit the hand of a keeper. The incident took place at Zurich Zoo, Switzerland, on Monday.

According to local reports, the unidentified female zookeeper entered the enclosure of the critically endangered Philippine crocodile to clean it when the reptile held onto her hand as she tried to remove it from the pen. When the crocodile did not let go of her for several minutes, the zoo staff decided to shoot the crocodile to save the keeper. Accordingly, the animal, a male, was shot dead and the keeper was rushed to a nearby hospital. The keeper underwent an emergency surgery and was recovering at the hospital.

Speaking to local media, zoo Director Alex Rubel said, “The well-being of our employee comes first. Shooting the animal was the only way to free her hand from the crocodile's mouth. According to the current updates, her hand could be saved by doctors.”

Rubel, who has been working at the zoo for over three decades, said this was the first time an animal was shot dead for behaving aggressively. Meanwhile, only 250 Philippine species of crocodiles are left in the wild.

Representational photo Getty Images/ Jay Directo