A baby zebra has died at a zoo near Bristol after being startled by fireworks ahead of Bonfire Night.
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm’s seven-month-old zebra, named Hope, is believed to have been frightened by loud bangs on November 4, which sent her running into the fence of her enclosure.
A post-mortem examination revealed that this sudden impact caused her immediate death.
Managing Director of the zoo, Larry Bush commented “We’re feeling devastated by the loss of our young zebra Hope. 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.
“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.”
The zebra was born at the start of the first UK-wide lockdown in March.
Her keepers said she became a “symbol of positivity” during such a difficult period earlier this year.
“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,” Jayne Gibbins, a senior keeper at the zoo said.
The zoo is hoping the tragedy will make more people aware of the impact fireworks have on pets and other animals.
In a statement, Noah’s Ark said: “As a zoo, we are determined that something good comes out of this and so we feel it is so important that people are aware of what has happened – we hope people will change their views about fireworks and become much more aware of the impact they can have on animals.
“We would like to use this tragic event as an impetus for change and we really hope that people will now think hard and adopt alternative arrangements like silent fireworks or other more animal-friendly options for their bonfire night celebrations.”