(CNN) – A baby zebra died after being startled by fireworks ahead of the UK’s annual Bonfire Night celebrations, a Bristol, England zoo said.
The eight-month-old zebra named Hope was born on Noahs Ark Zoo Farm in south-west England during the country’s first coronavirus lockdown in March, the zoo said in a statement.
The zoo staff said the animal had become “a symbol of certainty for our keepers and many of our visitors” after being “born at a time that felt so bleak”.
But the young zebra died last Wednesday after being “startled” by the sounds of fireworks from several local fireworks, the zoo said.
In normal years, cities across the UK celebrate a bonfire party with fireworks on or near the day on November 5th – known as Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night.
This year, most of the exhibitions have been canceled due to a ban on gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many Brits set fireworks in their own gardens.
“It appears that the shock rocked the animal and it collided with the boundary of the enclosure,” the zoo said in a statement Tuesday, adding that an autopsy revealed that the sudden impact was the “instant death” of the animal Animal caused.
“We feel 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,” said Larry Bush, the zoo’s executive director, in a statement.
“It’s such a tragedy that she lost her life, apparently as a result of fireworks set off at nearby events that were meant to be a celebration. We know that was not the intent of local organizers and people to let off fireworks but it does tragically show the impact fireworks can have on animals – whether it’s zebras, horses, native wildlife or pets in our homes, “he added.