Devastation as zebra foal dies after local fireworks displays

  • A young zebra named Hope as she was born during lockdown and brought joy in tough times has died after fireworks were let off near her enclosure.

    Staff at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol, believe seven-month-old Hope was spooked by the bangs from a number of local displays held on 4 November.

    “It appears that the fright caused the animal to bolt and she collided with the boundary of the enclosure,” a spokesman for the zoo said.

    “The post-mortem has revealed that this sudden impact caused her immediate death.”

    Head keeper Emma Ogborne told H&H in March the filly was named Hope to cheer people up in a difficult time. The spokesman said she had become a symbol of positivity to keepers and visitors.

    Zoo managing director Larry Bush said: “We’re feeling devastated by the loss of our young zebra Hope.

    “She was so full of energy and life and she was a very healthy young zebra. It is such a tragedy that she has lost her life, seemingly as a result of fireworks being set off at nearby events which were intended as a celebration.

    “We know this was not the intention of local organisers and people letting off fireworks, but it does demonstrate in a tragic way the impact that fireworks can have on animals – whether this be zebras, horses, native wildlife or pets in our homes.”

    Senior keeper Jayne Gibbins said the zoo is determined something good comes from Hope’s death.

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    “We feel it is so important people are aware of what has happened — we hope people will change their views about fireworks and become much more aware of the impact they can have on animals,” she said.

    “We would like to use this tragic event as an impetus for change and we really hope that people will now think hard and adopt alternative arrangements like silent fireworks or other more animal-friendly options for their bonfire night celebrations.“

    “Hope’s birth was a real high point for us in among the challenges of having to close the zoo for three months in support of the national lockdown and we are all feeling her loss greatly.”

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