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Zoo Knoxville announces death of its Zebra

Zoo Knoxville sadly announces death of one of its Zebras, Wiley.
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 1:26 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Zoo Knoxville sadly announced Wednesday, Wiley the Zebra has died.

Wiley, a 5-year-old Hartmann’s mountain zebra, died due to injuries she sustained after colliding with a fence this morning.

According to a release, Zoo staff and the veterinary team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine 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 were unable to resuscitate her.

Although staff members witnessed the tragic accident, zoo spokesperson Tina Rolen said no visitors were around at the time.

“It is a very tragic situation. While we were open to the public at the time this happened, vet procedures are done off public view whenever possible to help minimize stress to the animal. This occurred in a corral adjacent to the zebra barn in an off-view area with only zoo and vet staff present,” Rolen said.

Officials say, the cause of death is suspected to be a broken neck and a necropsy will be performed at the UTCVM.

Zoo Knoxville says Wiley was one of four mountain zebras in the zoo’s herd, 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.”

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