CALGARY, Alberta, Dec. 11 (UPI) — Alberta’s problem-plagued Calgary Zoo is saying little about how a female capybara from South America died in its pen last weekend.
Both CTV News and watchdog organization Zoocheck Canada said an anonymous tipster claimed the 140-pound rodent, the world’s largest, was crushed by a large gate Saturday.
The allegation didn’t emerge until Thursday, but zoo spokeswoman Cathy Gaviller would say little about the claim, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.
“Preliminary findings indicated that human error may have been a factor. Therefore, the individual involved was immediately reassigned to non-animal care duties pending the results of the investigation,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
The year-old capybara was acquired from a zoo in Buffalo, N.Y., and had been at the Calgary facility for six months, the reports said.
Since 2006, the zoo has undergone a series of animal deaths, including 41 stingrays, a rare goat, an elephant, four gorillas and a hippopotamus, the Globe said.
Julie Woodyer, Zoocheck’s campaigns director, told the Globe an external audit of the zoo was needed.
“Incident after incident after incident, there’s some serious problem there,” she said. “It’s either lack of training, lack of supervision — something is seriously wrong, and somebody needs to figure out what it is.”
Copyright 2009 by United Press International