A VETERINARIAN has been crushed to death by an elephant at Franklin Zoo south of Auckland, according to reports.
The zoo is home to just one elephant, a former circus elephant called Mila, One News reported.
TV3 reported that the elephant sat on the keeper then, acting protectively, would not let anyone else enter the enclosure to help the woman.
Police said they were called to the incident at the zoo shortly after 4.30pm.
No further information was to be available until next-of-kin had been notified and the matter had been referred to the coroner.
A fire communications spokesperson said they had limited information, but confirmed the brigade were asked to attend the Franklin Zoo in Ridge Road to assist where a person had been attacked by an elephant.
"Upon arrival, the elephant had been secured and paramedics were working with the patient," they said.
The Fire Service were called just after 4.30pm and stayed at the scene for up to 40 minutes. Ambulance Communications relief team manager Louis Rapihana told TV3 ambulance staff were called around the same time.
"A person was attacked by one of the animals, by an elephant,'' he said.
Franklin Zoo is at Tuakau, south of Pukekohe.
Mila, a 40-year-old African elephant, has been at the zoo for the past three years after formerly being part of a circus.