Upstate New York animal park owner trampled to death while feeding antelope

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VARYSBURG, N.Y. – The owner of an exotic-animal park in New York was trampled to death by an antelope that got out of its pen Sunday night.

The Wyoming County sheriff’s office says 81-year-old Hans Boxler Sr. was feeding animals late Sunday night when he was trampled by a nilgai antelope. Relatives found the animal near its pen with the door open and called police around 12:30 a.m. on Monday.

By the time first responders arrived, Boxler had succumbed to his injuries. It was determined that he died from blunt force injuries.

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.

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

The sheriff’s office says the animal was never loose because there is a retention fence around the area; he just got out of his pen.

The Hidden Valley Animal Adventure park will be closed Monday, July 25 through Wednesday, July 27 so family and friends can gather and honor Boxler.

Here is a statement from the Boxler family:

Hans’s lifelong passion was to farm and work with animals. He wanted to share his passion for God’s animals with others which encouraged him to create his own Noah’s Arc at Hidden Valley Animal Adventure. Since its incarnation thousands have enjoyed various animals from around the world. He enjoyed visiting with guests, many of whom traveled from great distances. His greatest reward was listening to and seeing their enjoyment with his animals and the beautiful setting he created at Hidden Valley. He was very proud of all his staff who took the time to ensure his animals and our guests were all treated as VIP’s every day. Hans was a very successful dairy farmer and was well respected throughout the community.