New York animal park owner trampled to death by antelope

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The nilgai or blue bull is the largest Asian antelope endemic to the Indian subcontinent. (Thinkstock Image)

The nilgai or blue bull is the largest Asian antelope endemic to the Indian subcontinent. (Thinkstock Image)

VARYSBURG, N.Y.  — The owner of an exotic-animal park in New York has been trampled to death by an antelope that got out of its pen.

The Wyoming County sheriff’s office says they received a call Tuesday around noon for a male being trampled by an animal.

Hans Boxler Sr., 81,  was feeding animals Monday when he was trampled by a nilgai antelope. Relatives found the animal near its pen with the door open. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The nilgai antelope is native to India and is the largest Asian antelope.

Boxler’s 60-acre Hidden Valley Animal Adventure in Varysburg offers daily safari tours to view animals such as camels, zebras and wildebeest.

A family statement says the death was a shock because Boxler understood the nature of his animals and followed a daily routine.

“We will never know exactly what happened,” the family statement said. “Clearly, it was something out of the ordinary that caused the animal’s reaction that occurred in an animal management area that was not accessible to the public.”

The Monroe County Medical Examiner has determined the death to be accidental and the cause of death multiple blunt force injuries.

Boxler was a dairy farmer for over 60 years. He started the wild-animal park in 2002.

A procession from The Lodge with his Belgian horses carrying him to his funeral will take place Wednesday.

The Associated Press and PIX11 digital producer Alyssa Zauderer contributed to this report.