MILWAUKEE — A zebra died on Wednesday in what officials are calling “a tragic accident” at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Zoo officials announced the death of Stuart, a 5-year-old male, in a news release.
The zebra was running and chasing the impalas in the zoo’s habitat when he lost his footing and ran into one of the posts on a wire containment fence, WISN-TV reported.
Although veterinary officials immediately responded to the animal, Stuart did not survive his injuries, according to the television station.
“This tragic accident is a heartbreaking loss for the animal care team, and for everyone who cares about the zoo’s animals,” officials said in a statement. “The focus now is on the well-being of the impalas and the ostriches who share the habitat.”
Zoo officials are still awaiting results to determine the zebra’s cause of death. Stuart was born in 2018 at the Hemker Park and Zoo in Freeport, Minnesota and arrived in Milwaukee the following year.
Tim Wild, the zoo’s large mammal curator, told WISN that the zebra “was running too fast” and lost his footing while trying to make a turn.
Stuart is the sixth large animal to die at the zoo this year, according to the television station. A jaguar was euthanized in February after health issues. A groundhog died in March, and two giraffes died that same month. In April, Sanchi, a 26-year-old camel, also died, WISN reported.
“Sometimes they come in groups like this. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of the animals that have died here this year have been very old, died of old age-related things that we know were coming,” Wild told the television station. “So, when we have a surprise like this, a disease or an accident, it’s just kind of odd.”