Adverse weather conditions have been blamed for a 57 percent increase in animal deaths at Dublin Zoo, where a number of endangered species were among 83 creatures that died in 2018.
hey included two of the zoo’s five eastern bongos – critically endangered antelopes that are native to Africa – and a female ring-tailed lemur, of which there are thought to be just 2,000 left in the wild.
Three grey wolves also died at the zoo during the 12-month period, along with a female ostrich, three slender-tailed meerkats, and one of its three okapis – an endangered species also known as a zebra giraffe.
Two endangered white-naped mangabeys were also among the dead – one of which died within 30 days of its birth – along with a male Rodrigues flying fox, which is an endangered species of bat.
The most high-profile death that occurred at Dublin Zoo in 2018 was that of Lena, one of its five western lowland gorillas, who was reported to have died from an unknown illness in September of that year.
She was 35 years old and had given birth seven times since her arrival at the zoo in 1988. Her most recent offspring was born in 2016 after she mated with silverback gorilla Harry, who died from a stroke later that year.
A Humboldt penguin, which has a “vulnerable” conservation status, also died at the zoo in 2018; along with one of two little egrets – a type of small heron.
In total, 83 animals died at Dublin Zoo in 2018, compared to 53 during the previous year, according to its latest annual report.
A spokesman for the zoo noted that 40 of the deaths that occurred in 2018 were of neo-natal or pre-fledge age, 34 of which were pre-fledgling birds. In 2017, 17 of the 53 deaths related to animals of neo-natal or pre-fledge age.
“Therefore, the increase in deaths between 2017 and 2018 was due to an increase in deaths of pre-fledgling birds. This increase could have been the result of adverse weather conditions in the period shortly after hatching, a phenomenon that also occurs in the wild,” he said.
“The physical and psychological well-being of the animals in our care is paramount to Dublin Zoo. However, as in the wild, animals also die in human care. In every such situation, the best veterinary care and attention is given. We mourn the loss of every animal,” the spokesman added.
Source: Irish News