Zebra called Hope born at start of lockdown ‘killed by fireworks’

The zebra was spooked by several firework displays nearby

Daisy Lester
Tuesday 10 November 2020 17:19
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Hope the zebra with her mother in their enclosure at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol
Hope the zebra with her mother in their enclosure at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Bristol

Fireworks are believed to have caused the death of a young zebra called Hope, who was born in March at the beginning of England’s first national lockdown.

Noah’s Ark Zoo farm announced with “great sadness” the death of the animal on Wednesday 4 November.

According to the farm, located just outside Bristol, Hope was named by keepers “to symbolise a ray of light at a time which felt so bleak.”

They added that the zebra had become a “symbol of positivity to our keepers and many of our visitors alike”.

Hope reportedly became spooked by the loud bangs from several of the local firework displays on the evening of 4 November.

The fright caused her to bolt and she fatally collided with the boundary of the enclosure, with the sudden impact causing her death, the post-mortem has revealed.

Managing Director of the zoo, 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.

He continued: “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.”

Meanwhile, Jayne Gibbins, a senior keeper at the zoo, added: “Her birth was a real high point for us in amongst 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.”

The zoo are urging people to understand the effect fireworks can have on animals, and to use the tragic event as “impetus for change”.

“We really hope that people will not think hard and adopt alternative arrangements for celebrations, including silent fireworks or more animal-friendly options,” they said in a statement.

Elsewhere, fireworks on Thursday evening caused the death of a rabbit in Wigan, who suffered a fatal seizure after “bomb-like” fireworks were let off nearby.

The animal's owner, student nurse Jen Bradshaw, said on Facebook shortly afterwards: “This is the real impact of fireworks on frightened animals.”

Also on Bonfire Night, a horse that was hit in the face by a firework set off nearby now faces losing his eye, after the incident left him with “irreversible” damage. The firework that injured the 21-year-old horse Dettori left him in “excruciating pain” in Countesswells, Aberdeen.

The animal’s “distraught” owners, Charley Taylor and her mother Debbie, have set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) in order “to help other animals hurt due to fireworks.”

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