A three-year-old mare from the vulnerable Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra species has died in an accident at a zoo in the US.
Duchess, who was three and a half years old, died instantly in the accident. “It appears Duchess lost her place while running and struck a fence post at full force,” said Shannon McKinney, director of animal care at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. “It appears she didn’t suffer and died instantly as a result of her injuries.”
It was not known what caused Duchess to gallop; zookeepers were nearby but did not see the accident.
“Duchess was such a beautiful and spirited animal and she taught us so much in the time we had with her,” said Jordan Longtin, assistant supervisor of large mammals.
“She loved to play all the time with her mate, Duke, and it was a joy to watch them interact and frolic around. Our team is devastated by losing her so suddenly.”
Duchess had arrived at the zoo in early 2019, and, with Duke, was part of the Species Survival Plan, developed by the (American) Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.