Join our zoo community

Zoo Losses of Tragic Proportion

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by AmbikaFan, 1 Sep 2019.

  1. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    As I saw the notice that Chester Zoo's elephant house was closed due to an "anomaly" in a routine EEHV test, I was reminded just how much loss the Hi-Way family, the zoo, and its supporters have borne in the last decade. While we all know that animals and humans alike will not live indefinitely--and that we have all experienced the death of a favorite animal --I find myself thinking about zoos that have faced loss so extreme as to be termed tragic.

    The Chester Zoo's four-generation Asian elephant family is remarkable in its breeding success in the effort to establish a self-sustaining population in human care. Yet seven of these young calves in the last decade have succombed to EEHV, a devastation I can't imagine for staff and a devoted public. Then 20-year-old Sithemi died suddenly, and in December, an electrical fire destroyed the Monsoon Forest building and many small animals. This is all in addition, of course, to the "everyday" losses the zoo has faced.

    I also think of Syracuse's Rosamond Gifford Zoo, a small zoo that's accomplished big things. This zoo suffered unspeakable loss in the 1970s when two teenagers broke into the zoo one night and killed 40 animals. The zoo, renowned like Chester for its success breeding Asian elephants, has also built a multi-generation elephant family. They experienced a freak tragedy in 2005 when days-old baby elephant Kedar waded into an indoor pool; the herd's females all rushed into the pool in a frenzied attempt at rescue that inadvertently blocked the calf's escape, and he drowned.

    As I reflect tonight on the worries for Chester's Anjan, I wonder how many other examples there are in the world of zoos that have suffered great loss and have managed to put one foot in front of the other and carry on to another day--for the betterment of us all. What other zoos out there deserve tribute for persevering through great misfortune?
     
    Terry Thomas and Zoofan15 like this.
  2. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    5,663
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I’d have to say Paignton Zoo’s giraffe herd:

    Their greatest tragedy was the loss of their female, Kizi, and her newborn calf in a fire in 2006; and the loss of their male, Paddy, a few days later due to smoke inhalation. Paddy and Kizi had previously lost a calf in 2004.

    Their attempts to rebuild their herd started with the import of 1.2 new giraffes. Eleven calves were born to this herd, with four euthanised as calves; and a fifth dying of natural causes as a calf. The male died unexpectedly last year aged just 14 years - middle aged for a species that has a life expectancy of 20-25 years in zoos.
     
  3. iluvwhales

    iluvwhales Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 May 2011
    Posts:
    304
    Location:
    The Isle of Long
    Columbus Zoo, 2018
    October 30 - female giraffe calf born, later named Ubumwe
    November 17 - Ubumwe dies
    December 4 - Giraffe Cami has c-section performed to bring a calf into the world, but the calf doesn't make it
    December 6 - female Asian elephant born, later named Phoebe
    December 8 - Cami dies
    December 26 - elephant calf, posthumously named Ellie, dies
     
  4. Gigit

    Gigit Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Oct 2007
    Posts:
    2,323
    Location:
    England
    Paignton again - the recent bovine TB outbreak resulted in the loss of their herd of Kafue Flats lechwe, seven West Caucasian tur, one Barbary sheep and two female Asiatic lions (I hope I haven't forgotten any other victims). The 2 year ban on mammal movements has only just been lifted. Breeding of some species was halted. The zoo is now having to install badger-proof fencing around many enclosures as well as immunising the local badger population. On top of this, they have just lost one of their star attractions, Duchess the African elephant, with her enclosure being added to the list of empty ones around the zoo.
     
    ThylacineAlive and AmbikaFan like this.
  5. BeakerUK

    BeakerUK Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2017
    Posts:
    401
    Location:
    UK
    Didn't Woburn lose all their Patas monkeys in a fire a year or two ago?
     
    AmbikaFan likes this.
  6. DesertRhino150

    DesertRhino150 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Jul 2010
    Posts:
    1,637
    Location:
    Essex
    I never realised at the time how close Colchester Zoo came to losing its entire collection during the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001. At one point, there was an infected farm less than two miles south of the zoo that had all its animals slaughtered. There was no official policy regarding zoos during the outbreak, but it was seen as likely that all the mammals, and possibly all the other animals, would be destroyed as potential carriers of the disease.
     
    AmbikaFan likes this.
  7. savetherhino

    savetherhino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    265
    Location:
    brookfield wisconsin usa
    Milwaukee County Zoo Gorillas
     
  8. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    594
    Location:
    West Midlands, UK
    Blair Drummond Safari Park, Woburn Safari Park, and West Midlands Safari Park in the UK having to euthanise over 300 rhesus macaques between them after they were found to be infected with the rare but deadly simian herpes B virus.

    Whilst not affecting the macaques, the virus is thought to be as dangerous to humans as the Ebola virus.

    The cull came about after UK government health experts launched a nationwide inquiry following the case of a child in the US who sadly died after contracting the virus when a macaque spat at her.
     
    Cassidy Casuar and AmbikaFan like this.
  9. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    4,311
    Location:
    South Devon
    I would suggest that one of the worst was the fire in the Monkey House at Philadelphia zoo on Christmas Eve 1995. Reuters reported a zoo spokesman as saying that the dead animals included six western lowland gorillas, three Bornean orangutans, four white-handed gibbons, two ruffed lemurs, two mongoose lemurs and six ring-tailed lemurs. The gorillas were a wild-caught trio and three of their offspring (fortunately some of their offspring had already been moved to other zoos). The orangs were a breeding pair and their daughter.
     
    Pertinax likes this.
  10. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    23,454
    Location:
    not travelling
    Herpes B isn't a rare virus - an estimated 80-90% of macaques carry it. It is pretty much a standard feature of macaques. However the percentage of macaques which shed the virus (i.e. when humans can contract it) is tiny and is thought to usually be stress-related - most cases of humans contracting the virus involve laboratory workers.
     
  11. Benosaurus

    Benosaurus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    9 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    594
    Location:
    West Midlands, UK
    Oops, excuse my bad grammar. Rare as in rarely contracted by humans.
     
  12. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    I remember this...just awful. The beautiful new exhibit tends to make me forget it. I can literally still hear the TV news coverage and it being Christmas Eve.... Thank you for remembering this.
     
    Last edited: 5 Sep 2019
    Cassidy Casuar likes this.
  13. savetherhino

    savetherhino Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2011
    Posts:
    265
    Location:
    brookfield wisconsin usa
    ?
     
  14. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    Thanks--not sure how I got this into my reply. Fixed!
     
  15. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2017
    Posts:
    1,227
    Location:
    Norfolk, Va
    I'm surprised this thread was made before the dolphin at Duisburg dies.
     
  16. TheGerenuk

    TheGerenuk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2017
    Posts:
    2,514
    Location:
    Brampton, Ontario, Canada
    Don't say that! You'll make a whole bunch of people mad!
     
  17. drill

    drill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2017
    Posts:
    1,227
    Location:
    Norfolk, Va
    I'm an American. That's our job.
     
    ZooBinh likes this.
  18. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dunellen, NJ, USA
    ???????
     
  19. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Oct 2012
    Posts:
    8,609
    Location:
    Connecticut, U.S.A.
    In 1995, Bronx's original seabird aviary, a staple of the zoo since its opening in 1899, collapsed due to heavy snowfall. It was home to roughly 100 South American seabirds at the time, over 30 of which flew off never to be recovered. These including Grey Gulls, Andean Gulls, a Belcher's Gull, and about half of what was the largest flock of Inca Terns in America at the time.

    Today most of those species are absent from US zoos entirely, but the zoo still keeps and breeds Inca Terns in the replacement aviary to this day.

    ~Thylo
     
    Cassidy Casuar likes this.
  20. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    12,301
    Location:
    UK
    I don't think so - the cull in question took place in 2000, and the last human fatality to date took place in 1997 and involved an adult. Moreover, I haven't heard of any cases prior to that involving a child.