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Buffalo Gores Animal Handler At Santa Rosa Wildlife Preserve

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) - An animal handler gored by a buffalo Wednesday at Safari West is recovering from significant injuries, said a spokeswoman for the Santa Rosa wildlife preserve.

The buffalo charged at the handler, Nicole Smith, as she tried to coax it back into the paddock, goring her leg with one of its horns, said spokeswoman Aphrodite Caserta.

"She was gored, I understand, in the thigh. She's in stable condition," Caserta said, adding that Smith was likely to be released from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital sometime Thursday afternoon.

Caserta said a 7-year-old Cape buffalo named Ruth had been following a group of Angus cattle when she strayed onto the wrong side of a fence that surrounds the buffalo paddock in an area of the preserve not accessible to the public.

After preserve staff radioed for help, Ruth was tranquilized and returned to the paddock.

Safari West houses 400 hundred exotic animals and offers safari Jeep tours and overnight stays on the 400-acre preserve.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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