The Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC is investigating Monday after a zebra viciously attacked a staff member and spooked a critically-endangered gazelle, causing it to run into a barrier and die.
Officials said an animal care staff member was bitten multiple times by a 10-year-old Grevy’s zebra named “Gumu.” The attack did not happen in front of any zoo visitors.
Zoo officials are investigating why the staff member was inside the zebra’s enclosure, which violates safety protocols.
The keeper was bleeding and taken to hospital, but was alert and conscious, according to a statement.
Shortly after the incident, a one-year-old Dama gazelle named “Tony” died.
“Initial necropsy reports showed evidence of fractured vertebrae, which tells us he was likely spooked by the incident and ran into a barrier,” zoo spokesperson Jen Zoon said.
The zebra was uninjured and taken to an off-exhibit holding area at the Cheetah Conservation Station, a facility where no breeding or birth takes place.
The zoo’s other male zebras, five-year-old “Moyo” and “Domo” are still on exhibit.