Baby Zebra Born on Christmas Dies at Arizona Zoo
A baby zebra at an Arizona zoo died less than two months after her birth due to a neck injury.
Tragic Accident at Tucson's Reid Park Zoo
A baby zebra named Tikiti Maji passed away at Tucson's Reid Park Zoo on Tuesday after suffering a neck injury. The tragic incident occurred when the zebra's mother, Anna, was startled by a gust of wind. Anna moved abruptly, but Tikiti Maji, who was running alongside her, didn't stop in time and collided with a fence. Unfortunately, the impact resulted in instant death for the young zebra.
Reid Park Zoo President and CEO Nancy Kluge expressed her condolences, saying, "My heart goes out to Anna, who was an attentive and watchful mother to Tikiti, as well as to the Zoo's animal care professionals who give their all each day to ensure that every animal at Reid Park Zoo receives quality, loving, and uninterrupted care. We are absolutely heartbroken by the loss."
Remembering Tikiti Maji
Tikiti Maji, whose name means "watermelon" in Swahili, had brought joy to many with her playful and energetic nature. The care team at Reid Park Zoo was particularly saddened by her sudden and unexpected loss. Adam Ramse, the Director of Animal Care, stated, "In a very short time, Tikiti won everyone over with her playful nature and energetic spirit. The care team is taking the unexpected loss very hard. She will be dearly missed."
The loss of Tikiti Maji comes at a time when her mother, Anna, is already grieving the recent transfer of her son Haroo to another zoo. The zoo will provide extra care and support to Anna during this difficult time.
Grevy's Zebras and Conservation Efforts
Tikiti Maji was a Grevy's zebra, a species that is endangered with less than 2,500 remaining in the wild. These zebras are the largest species of zebra, standing 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing between 770 and 950 pounds when fully grown. They have a lifespan of 12 to 13 years, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.
In an effort to protect and preserve the Grevy's zebra population, the Reid Park Zoo had made modifications to the zebra habitat prior to Tikiti's birth. The barriers were made more visible, and the mother and foal were given increased access to the larger main zebra habitats. Additionally, a quiet zone was established around the zebras' behind-the-scenes areas.
Despite these measures, the vulnerability of young zebras and their high mortality rate remains a challenge. Zebras, as a species, are easily startled. The loss of Tikiti Maji serves as a reminder of the ongoing conservation efforts needed to protect these magnificent creatures.