The Sacramento Zoo is sad to share that after a rapid decline in health over the last few weeks Mara, a 20-year-old Grevy’s Zebra was humanely euthanized the evening of Sunday, May 22. A full necropsy will be performed at UC Davis.
Over the past three weeks zookeepers and veterinarians had been closely monitoring Mara as she progressively became lethargic, had a sever lack of appetite, and experienced weight loss and diarrhea. She was receiving supportive care such as antibiotics, pain medications and gut protectants. Tests were inconclusive as to a root cause. During her last 24-hour she stopped eating, drinking and urinating. Due to her serious decline and concerns for her quality of life, the decision was made to euthanize during a medical examination.
“Mara was a quiet and dependable zebra who was happy to follow along with the herd,” said Melissa McCartney, Primary Ungulate Zookeeper at the Sacramento Zoo. “At mealtime she had learned to knock on the shift door to let keepers know she was ready for breakfast and wanted to be let in first.”
|Mara came to the Sacramento Zoo in 2000 from the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Sacramento Zoo has been home to Grevy’s Zebras since 1973.|
This species of zebra lives in a dry, nutrient-poor habitat in Africa. Their social organization is very different from that of other zebras. Intense competition among females for limited resources prevents long-lasting bonds from being formed. Life on the African plains is also full of danger and predators are a constant threat to the zebras’ survival. Because Grevy’s Zebras are more solitary, they do not have the safety of a large herd to protect them and instead rely on excellent hearing, with large ears that can rotate in any direction. The wild population of Grevy’s Zebras has been drastically reduced in the past few decades. Although protected by law, their beautiful pelts continue to demand a good price on the black market. Loss of habitat and competition from cattle are also threats to their survival. The Sacramento Zoo has been a longtime supporter of the Grevy's Zebra Trust, a program founded to address the urgent need to conserve Grevy's Zebra in the rangelands of Kenya and Ethiopia by incorporating human and wildlife interests into all of their programs.