Lydia the Zebra dies after running into fence

Zebra from Zoo Knoxville dies after running into fence
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 12:15 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) – A 7-year-old zebra at Zoo Knoxville died after running into a fence on Saturday, according to the zoo’s director of marketing and communications, Tina Rolen.

Rolen said first responders were called for a human medical emergency that required an ambulance to drive up to the guest pathway in front of the zebra habitat.

Zebras are not accustomed to traffic in the area so zoo officials thought it would be best to move them, but the animals calmed down and zoo officials decided not to.

While the ambulance did not turn on its sirens, Rolen said Lydia unexpectedly bolted and crashed into a fence about eight minutes after the ambulance left.

Preliminary necropsy results showed that Lydia died instantaneously due to trauma to the neck, Zoo Knoxville officials said.

“Our top priority is the safety of our guests, employees, and animals. We regularly drill for emergencies to be prepared for every conceivable scenario to ensure positive outcomes,” President and CEO Lisa New said. “Sadly, despite all our efforts yesterday to care for our people and our animals, we had a tragic accident occur.”

This is not the first zebra the zoo has lost in this way. In 2021, Wiley, a 5-year-old female zebra, also collided with a corral fence while being prepped for a procedure.