HOUSTON - The Houston Zoo has lost several of its beloved residents recently, including two this week.
The first was a chimpanzee named Mac who was euthanized after sedation caused brain damage during a normal medical checkup.
"You just have a sense of loss when you can't help an animal and you lose an animal," said Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi.
He told Local 2 that the Houston Zoo has four veterinarians on staff, plus medical technicians and hospital staff to care for ill animals in the zoo's hospital.
"We do everything possible to extend an animal's life," Barongi said. "Most animals in zoos, quite frankly, live a lot longer than they do in the wild."
Barongi said that on Tuesday, Ivy, an elderly female leopard had chronic bone and joint issues that, after three years of treatment, reached a critical point with lots of pain.
He said an X-ray showed one of her elbows was broken and experts decided the most humane option was to euthanize her.
On Monday, the zoo director said Hatari the zebra was hurt by one of his yard mates, an eland. He said he could not understand why after the two animals had gotten along well for several months with no problem. He said a visitor noticed the injury and told a zoo ranger.
Barongi said a veterinarian tried to help but the zebra did not survive.
"The zebra's a little puzzling because no one saw what happened there," Barongi said. "They're in one of the largest enclosures in the zoo. They get along great. We're just not sure why it happened."
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