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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

An antelope at a Tennessee zoo met a tragic end after choking on a plastic snack pouch cap

Brights Zoo conveyed on Facebook that Lief, a sitatunga antelope, had “plenty of life left to live.”

Over the weekend, Brights Zoo, nestled in Limestone, Tennessee, was struck by tragedy as a cherished member of its animal family met a heartbreaking end. Lief, a 7-year-old sitatunga antelope, succumbed to choking on the plastic cap of a squeezable fruit sauce pouch, prompting an outpouring of grief and introspection from the zoo’s community.

The loss of Lief, described as “beloved” by the zoo, reverberated through the hearts of staff and visitors alike. Sitatunga antelopes, known for their grace and resilience, typically boast a lifespan of up to 22 years under human care, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Lief, at 7, was still in the prime of life, leaving behind a void that words struggle to fill.

In a somber announcement on Facebook, Brights Zoo lamented the preventable nature of Lief’s demise, underscoring the inherent danger posed by certain items within the zoo’s confines. The zoo’s policy prohibits the entry of squeezable pouches due to the peril they pose to the resident animals. Despite vigilant bag checks, some individuals circumvent these measures, inadvertently introducing hazards into the animal habitats.

The decision to ban such items stems from a simple yet profound rationale: from an animal’s perspective, the packaging bears an uncanny resemblance to food, inviting fatal misjudgments. This tragedy underscores the delicate balance between human recreation and wildlife preservation, highlighting the responsibility borne by visitors to adhere to established rules and regulations.

Amidst the anguish and regret permeating the zoo’s corridors, voices of dissent emerged on social media, condemning the disregard for safety protocols that culminated in Lief’s untimely demise. The zoo, grappling with the weight of sorrow, responded with a plea for accountability, recognizing the need for collective vigilance in safeguarding the lives of its inhabitants.

Snack pouches.Brights Zoo via Facebook

Instances of guests flouting rules extend beyond the realm of prohibited items, with reports of littering and improper disposal of food casting a shadow over the sanctuary’s mission of conservation and education. Brights Zoo, a private, family-owned establishment, serves as a haven for both rare and endangered species, alongside more common yet equally cherished creatures. However, the sanctuary’s efforts are hampered by the actions of a minority who prioritize convenience over compassion, jeopardizing the well-being of the animals in their care.

As the sun sets on another day at Brights Zoo, the memory of Lief lingers, a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the enduring bonds that unite all creatures great and small. In the wake of tragedy, the zoo’s resolve remains unwavering, fueled by a commitment to honor Lief’s legacy through enhanced measures to protect and preserve the diverse tapestry of life entrusted to its care.


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