The Reid Park Zoo confirmed a young zebra died this morning during the preparations for its routine vaccinations.
Zoo officials said the male Grevy's Zebra, named Ajani, died when it was separated from the rest of the herd. They said Ajani was startled by another zebra, ran into the enclosure barrier, not visible to the public, and fractured his neck.
He was born at Reid Park Zoo and was 1 year and 7 months old.
Zoo keepers reportedly witnessed the accident and the veterinary team performed CPR to try to revive him, but an X-ray performed on site showed the physical trauma to the zebra's vertebrae was not survivable. Zoo officials said a full post-mortem exam will be completed.
Zebras have received vaccinations in the same location without incident, zoo staff said.
"This was a tragic accident," Zoo Curator Jim Schnormeier stated in a news release. "From the foal's exciting arrival on exhibit, to the health challenges he experienced following his birth, it is clear that this animal received the best care possible. My focus today is now on the safety and well-being of our dedicated staff members, who still have a challenging job to do during this sad and stressful time."
He said zebras will remain on exhibit at the zoo.
Reid Park Zoo is one of many zoos in the Grevy's Zebra Species Survival Plan that works to protect the endangered species through captive breeding and education programs.
Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.