Seven Mexico zoo kangaroos die in four weeks – 07/21/2007

  • December 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm #1592

    Seven Mexico zoo kangaroos die in four weeks

    Storms reportedly kill 7 Mexico kangaroos
    Zoo officials believe the animals were distressed by thunderstorms
    Updated: 10:39 a.m. MT July 21, 2007

    MEXICO CITY – Violent thunderstorms have driven seven distressed kangaroos to death at a Mexican zoo, say veterinarians who are now pampering the remaining three mothers and their babies.

    The zoo in the western city of Guadalajara brought the kangaroos from Texas in April and all went smoothly until last month when the rainy season began.

    Seven kangaroos died over a period of four weeks, most soon after harsh rain storms.

    “They became apathetic in the morning then sad in the afternoon and by night they could be dead,” veterinarian Andrea Saucedo told Reuters. “We would just be trying to understand what was happening, when — oops — another.”

    The kangaroos, shy by nature, have ample food, shelter and outdoor space to hop at the zoo.

    The animals likely were suffering stress from their recent move but the foul weather, including drastic daily swings in temperature, probably pushed some over the edge, the zoo believes.

    “The storms weren’t continuous,” Saucedo said. “They were the only thing that was coinciding with the deaths.”

    Heavy rain soaks most of Mexico every June to September, causing floods and mudslides in many regions.

    Vets reluctant to confirm

    Hardy in their natural habitat, an estimated 57 million wild kangaroos live in Australia, nearly three times the human population. The red kangaroo species at the Guadalajara zoo comes from arid central Australia.

    The three surviving adult kangaroos gave birth just before arriving at the zoo. The babies, called joeys, have just begun to poke their heads from their mothers’ pouches, said zoo spokeswoman Danae Vazquez.

    Vets in Australia were reluctant to speculate about the cause of the deaths without seeing the kangaroos and their environments first-hand.

    Stress an issue

    Richard O’Neill, a safari guide in northwestern Australia, said the change in weather could have spooked them.

    “Any animal, when you change his environment, will feel stress and that stress can be transmitted throughout the group,” he said Saturday.

    Zoo workers are giving the remaining kangaroos added attention and vitamins and asking visitors to be extra quiet.

    No kangaroos have died in the past three weeks and zookeepers are optimistic the survivors have adapted to their new home.

    Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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