We are deeply saddened to announce that Zak, one of three zebra, has died.
Zak, who was 21 years old and believed to be one of the oldest male zebras in captivity in Europe, died on Sunday evening, after being taken ill earlier in the day. Despite the best efforts of vets and keepers, Zak died while recovering from an emergency general anaesthetic.
Vets had been treating Zak for chronic liver disease for a few years.
Zak, a Chapman’s zebra, was one of the first residents at Wild Place Project, having arrived in 2013, shortly before it opened to the public.
Keeper Ellie Adams said: “Zak was an absolute pleasure to work with. He was a very clever zebra and was easy to train – he was always the first to get on the scales on weighing day.
“Despite this, he also made great use of his selective hearing every evening when it was time to come inside from the grass paddock! He will be sorely missed by staff, volunteers, visitors and of course our remaining zebras.”
Keepers will be keeping a close eye on Zak’s companions, Peter and Florence, over the coming days. They live alongside giraffe, red river hogs and eland, in Wild Place’s Benoue National Park exhibit.
In the wild, zebras are classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, as their population is now around 500,000, almost a quarter less than in 2002, due to hunting and loss of habitat.