January 17, 2009

Toy kills goat at Canadian zoo

A wild goat died at the Calgary Zoo when it got tangled in a hanging toy zookeepers had placed in its enclosure, officials at the Canadian facility say.

Zoo employees working in a nearby exhibit cut loose the 2-year-old male Turkmenian markhor when they realized it was in trouble Friday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday. However, their efforts to get the animal breathing again were fruitless.

This was a very unfortunate accident that happened while the markhor was playing with an enrichment device placed in the enclosure to provide mental stimulation, said Cathy Gaviller, the zoo's conservation director.

It had been there for several years, but somehow the markhor managed to get the rope tangled around its neck, then lost its footing.

The markhor appeared to have slipped from a log ramp after becoming entangled and broke its neck in the fall.

The toy has been removed and the zoo staff was assessing all such items to determine if they present hazards to the animals, the zoo said.