Reid Park Zoo Zebra Foal Dies Of “Likely” Spinal Injury

Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoological Operations stated, “Zebras as a species can become easily startled and, sadly, young zebras have a high mortality rate.”

TUCSON – On Tuesday, the Reid Park Zoo announced the death of a Grevy’s zebra foal. The foal, born on July 4th, most likely died from a spinal injury, according to the Zoo’s announcement.

Grevy’s zebra are endangered with fewer than 2,000 of the species remaining in the wild. Reid Park Zoo participates in Grevy’s Zebra Species Survival Plan, a partnership organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to promote genetic diversity in the zoo populations and to protect against depletion of the wild population and its habitat.

“Yesterday, during morning animal health checks, the young zebra was found lying next to his mother. At this point initial radiographs show a fracture in his cervical spine, however we are uncertain of the nature of the injury or how he sustained it,” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoological Operations. “Zebras as a species can become easily startled and, sadly, young zebras have a high mortality rate.”

“The foal was born to first-time mom Anna, who was attentive to him day and night,” Tygielski said. Staff observed Anna and the youngster on Sunday exhibiting normal behaviors including the foal running and jumping as he explored his surroundings. There was no unusual behavior seen in either staff observations or camera recordings.”

“In a very short time, he won everyone’s heart with his spirited energy. The animal care team is taking the unexpected loss very hard. The last two months of Anna’s pregnancy, the team monitored her around the clock and post-pregnancy worked to provide a calm, quiet environment for mom and foal,” Tygielski said. “A full necropsy will be performed to learn as much as we can and whether the foal had any underlying conditions.”

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