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City of Little Rock Public Relations
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Contact(s):Susan Altrui

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Zebra Dies During Introduction to New Exhibit

LITTLE ROCK (April 9, 2009) – A female zebra was euthanized yesterday at the Little Rock Zoo after suffering a broken neck from colliding with a gate during introduction of the animal to the new African Veldt exhibit.

The three zebra made their way onto the veldt from the east side of the exhibit where their holding barn is located. The zebras became excited and began running on the exhibit. Two zebras broke through the west side fence and hot wire connected to a service area in between a pond and the exhibit.

The third zebra didn’t leave the exhibit and returned to the holding area on the east side of the exhibit.

After running back and forth in the service area one of the two zebras ran head-first into the service area gate and collapsed.

Zoo veterinary staff responded and determined the animal was showing signs of a broken neck. It was then determined to euthanize the animal. Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Marilynn Baeyens, said upon examination of the animal’s spinal column late yesterday afternoon that the animal had a broken neck and would not have recovered from the injury.

Zoo staff are assessing and repairing the exhibit and evaluating the zebra program. The veldt will continue to display the East African crowned cranes and kudu.

Construction of the African Veldt mixed-species exhibit concluded in December 2008 and animal introductions to the exhibit began in January of this year. The Zoo’s three East African crowned cranes were introduced to the exhibit in January followed by the Zoo’s two kudu. The zebra were the last species to introduce to the exhibit before Zoo staff would begin introducing the different species to one another.

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit


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