Loss of Hartmann’s mountain zebra mares a blow for US zoos

Zoo Knoxville's Wiley, aged five, died on March 17 after sustaining an injury.
Zoo Knoxville’s five-year-old Hartmann’s mountain zebra mare Wiley died on March 17 after sustaining an injury. © Zoo Knoxville

Two zoos in the United States have each lost mares from their Hartmann’s mountain zebra herds in recent weeks.

The Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus zebra ssp. hartmannae) species is classed as vulnerable in the wild and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Zoo Knoxville in Tennessee lost its five-year-old mare Wiley on March 17 after she sustained injuries after hitting a fence.

Wiley in Zoo Knoxville's Grasslands Africa habitat.
Wiley in Zoo Knoxville’s Grasslands Africa habitat. © Zoo Knoxville

Zoo staff and the veterinary team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) were preparing to perform a physical exam on Wiley in the corral of the Grasslands Africa habitat when she made a sudden movement and collided head-on with a chain-link fence and collapsed. The veterinary team immediately began performing CPR but was unable to resuscitate her. The cause of death is suspected to be a broken neck and a necropsy will be performed.

Wiley was one of four mountain zebras in the zoo’s herd, which had a new arrival in December. and the aunt of the 3-month-old foal born in December. She came to the zoo in April 2018, with female Lydia and male Die Toekoms.

“We are heartbroken about this tragic accident,” said Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education.

“Despite careful planning to minimize stress for Wiley, this happened in a split-second before we could administer anesthesia. Our team is devastated and currently helping the herd adjust to the loss. We appreciate kind thoughts on a very difficult day for us.”

Six-year-old Hartmann's mountain zebra mare Grenade died in late February.
Six-year-old Hartmann’s mountain zebra mare Grenade died in late February. © ABQ BioPark

In February, Albuquerque Biological Park (ABQ BioPark) announced the death of the mare Grenade, who was born in 2015. She had arrived at the New Mexico park as a yearling with another filly, Eerste.

ABQ BioPark said a necropsy was performed, but no obvious cause of death was found. The BioPark is awaiting further histopathology results.



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