The latest figures show that over 11 percent of Dublin Zoo’s animal population died during 2016
A number of critically endangered and near-extinct species were among 55 animals that died at Dublin Zoo in 2016, according to internal records.
These included both of the zoo’s male western lowland gorillas, a giraffe, three white-naped mangabeys, and an Amur tiger – of which there are only a few hundred still living in the wild.
The latest figures show that over 11 percent of Dublin Zoo’s animal population died during 2016, bringing the total number of deaths at the popular attraction to 164 during the three-year period from 2014 to 2017.
Animal inventory records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that there were also 93 births at the zoo in 2016, however, one-in-four of these new arrivals died within 30 days.
A scimitar-horned oryx, a species of antelope that has been extinct in the wild for almost 20 years, also died at Dublin Zoo last year. A total of five of these animals died at the zoo between 2014 and 2017.
Two adult waldrapp ibis – described on the Dublin Zoo website as “one of the most endangered birds in the world” – died in 2016, along with a citron-crested cockatoo, of which there are less than 5,000 left in the world.
The most high-profile animal death in 2016 was that of Harry the Gorilla, who died following a stroke on May 29. His passing featured last year on the RTÉ series, The Zoo .
The western lowland gorilla, one of a critically endangered species, was 29-years old when he died. Their average lifespan in the wild is 35-40, although they can live for over 50 years in captivity.
Harry’s death was announced by Dublin Zoo in a press release in 2016. There was no formal statement regarding the death of the zoo’s other male gorilla, however. These were replaced by a new male and female, while a baby gorilla was also born in July 2016.
Other animals that died at the Phoenix Park attraction in 2016 included a grey wolf, a slender-tailed meerkat, a female ostrich, a Humboldt penguin, an Asian water dragon, and a baby snow leopard.
A spokesperson for Dublin Zoo said the physical and psychological wellbeing of animals is its “number-one priority”, and that ensuring every animal lives out its life to the full is “paramount”.
“However, as in the wild, animals die in Dublin Zoo,” they said. “In every situation, the best of veterinary care and attention is given. We mourn the loss of every animal.”
The spokesperson said that Dublin had a “world-class zoo” that had developed “best-in-class” habitats over the past decade, such as the Orangutan Forest, Sea Lion Cove, and the Kaziranga Forest Trail.
“Between 2014 and 2017, Dublin Zoo had 263 births, many of which are as a result of Dublin Zoo’s role in international breeding programmes to ensure the survival of some of the world’s most endangered wildlife.
“Animals only breed when they are healthy and happy, and these births are testament to the work done at Dublin Zoo to create a best-in-class environment,” they added.
“Zoos like ours are fundamentally important to ensure the survival of some of the world’s most endangered species. The role Dublin Zoo plays in supporting conservation projects around the world is also vitally important.”
However, a representative of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA) said the latest animal-death figures were unsurprising.
“We are very saddened to hear of the number of deaths at Dublin Zoo in 2016, but unfortunately, it is not surprising.
“Animals do not thrive in zoos, and time and time again these losses are proof that we should be focusing on protecting animals in their natural environments – not in enclosures built for humans’ entertainment,” she said.
Examples of animal deaths:
- Two male western lowland gorillas
- A white-naped mangabey
- The zoo’s only African pygmy hedgehog
- A male grey wolf
- A female African painted dog
- A baby snow leopard
- A female Amur tiger
- A female giraffe
- A female scimitar-horned oryx
- A female ostrich
- A female Humboldt penguin
- Two Chilean flamingos
- Two waldrapp ibis
- A citron-crested cockatoo
- A black-throated laughing thrush
- A male slender-tailed meerkat
Date : 15-July-2018