A zebra foal born at the start of lockdown in March has died after being spooked by fireworks, her zoo keepers believe.
The young zebra, named Hope, collided with the boundary of her enclosure at Noah’s Ark Farm Zoo, near Bristol, last Wednesday night.
The zoo said loud bangs from several fireworks displays may have frightened her, causing Hope to bolt and smash into the enclosure wall.
A post-mortem revealed the sudden impact caused her immediate death.
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The zoo said its keepers named the newborn zebra Hope ‘to symbolise a ray of light and hope at a time which felt so bleak’.
Managing director of the zoo, Larry Bush, said they are ‘devastated’, adding: ‘She was so full of energy and life and she was a very healthy young zebra.
‘It is such a tragedy that she has lost her life, seemingly as a result of fireworks being set off at nearby events which were intended as a celebration.’
Senior keeper Jayne Gibbins said: ‘Her birth was a real high point for us in amongst the challenges of having to close the zoo for three months in support of the national lockdown and we are all feeling her loss greatly.’
The zoo now hopes her death can become an ‘an impetus for change’ to help raise awareness for the impact bonfire night celebrations can have on animals.
Mr Bush added: ‘We know this was not the intention of local organisers and people letting off fireworks but it does demonstrate in a tragic way the impact that fireworks can have on animals – whether this be zebras, horses, native wildlife or pets in our homes.’
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