At the National Zoo’s Virginia research site, a four-month-old Przewalski’s horse, endangered in the wild, died after apparently charging at a fence and breaking its neck. That makes four animals dying under the Zoo’s care in the past year. Last December a red river hog died of septicemia, due to “improper nutrition.” A pregnant kudu broke its neck running at a wall in June. A Dama gazelle died in a similar way.
Beyond unfortunate and — according to the zoo — preventable deaths. The institution has been the site of several animal escapes and a zebra attack.
If you’re thinking that there must be some kind of systemic problem behind these, then National Zoo would agree with you. Its own investigation into these events revealed “inexperience, friction, and poor communication among the zoo’s staff,” problems the zoo blames on a lack of resources and staff due to budget cuts.
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