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from the Star Tribune, South Bend, Indiana


Warthog takes off in van owned by zoo

Published 05/30/2003


It was anything but ``Hakuna Matata'' - Swahili for ``no worries'' - when an anesthetized African warthog at the Potawatomi Zoo took off in a van.

Zoo visitors had to seek shelter inside zoo buildings briefly Wednesday when Mando the warthog woke up unexpectedly and knocked the otherwise unoccupied van into gear, sending it rolling down a small hill.

The ride came to an abrupt end when the van hit a fence. The warthog jumped through the driver's side window before falling back asleep.

No one was injured, although Mando needed stitches for cuts, zoo veterinarian Jeremy Goodman said.

The entire event occurred in a restricted area of the zoo, but visitors were moved inside buildings as a precaution because the warthog, with its sharp tusks, is potentially dangerous.

Mando was taken to the zoo hospital Wednesday afternoon when his keeper noticed he wasn't putting any weight on a back leg. X-rays showed there was no break, so he was placed back in the van, Goodman said.

The movement of being put in the van, though, woke Mando up. Workers quickly shut the van's door to trap the warthog inside.

When Mando moved into the front seat, the zoo workers cracked open the door and gave the warthog another shot of anesthesia. Before it took effect, however, Mando hit the gear shift, sending the van rolling.

Copyright 2003 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

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