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Saturday, January 10, 2015

animal escapade - this time it is bighorn sheep from LA zoo - but dies..


The Tiger at Vandalur was found providing respite for all concerned.  Zoos are the places where animals are kept protected for humans to see and enjoy and animal escapades from their closed confines are nothing new.

Away in Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a 133-acre founded in 1966.  The City of Los Angeles owns the entire zoo, its land and facilities, and the animals. Animal care, grounds maintenance, construction, education, public information, and administrative staff are city employees.  The Los Angeles Zoo has had a number of notable escaped animals over the years. One particular spate took place during the late 1990s and early 2000s when, in half a decade, at least 35 animals escaped the zoo including zebras, chimps, kangaroos and antelopes. Evelyn the Gorilla was the star escaping from her enclosure five times. In one widely covered incident, she used some overgrown vines to pull herself out of her exhibit, and remained at large for hours.

The bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) is a species of sheep in North America  named so for its large horns. These horns can weigh up to 30 lb (14 kg), while the sheep themselves weigh up to 300 lb (140 kg).  Bighorn males, called rams, are famous for their large, curled horns. These impressive growths are a symbol of status and a weapon used in epic battles across the Rocky Mountains. Fighting for dominance or mating rights, males face each other, rear up on their hind legs, and hurl themselves at each other in charges of some 20 miles (32 kilometers) an hour.

There is news that one bighorn sheep escaped from the Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday and died after being struck by a driver who fled the scene, authorities said. The adult female sheep escaped an exhibit just before noon and traversed the Santa Monica Mountains from the area in Griffith Park where the zoo is located, zoo spokeswoman said.   The animal was loose for about three hours before it was struck by a car on a residential street near the Greek Theatre, she said. The concert venue is about 2 miles southwest of the zoo, on the other side of Griffith Park.

Veterinarians and animal care staff set up a perimeter around the sheep and tranquilized it. The animal died a short time later, and it appears the sheep succumbed to injuries from being hit by the car but a necropsy is planned to determine the exact cause of death. Reports suggest that the car's driver did not stop after striking the animal, but witnesses saw the car-on-sheep collision. .

Zoo officials were still trying to determine how the animal got out of its enclosure, which has four other sheep. Zookeepers, park rangers and a police helicopter joined the search after the animal was reported missing. When zoo personnel and veterinarians got to the sheep, they tranquilized the animal to bring it back to its habitat but it died at the scene.

The desert bighorn sheep has been listed as endangered since 1998 due to loss of habitat, disease brought by domestic sheep and cattle and predation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th Nov. 2014.

Photo credit : National Geographic

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