Antelope at Tennessee zoo passes away due to ingestion of a cap

Over the weekend, a rare antelope tragically passed away at Bright Zoo in Tennessee after choking on a plastic cap from a squeezable pouch.

According to CBS News, during a routine check on Saturday, Leif, a Sitatunga antelope, caught the attention of a zookeeper for “acting odd.” Upon closer inspection, the keeper noticed fluid leaking from the antelope’s mouth and quickly called in the veterinarian team to address the issue. It was discovered that Leif had a plastic cap stuck in his mouth, which the team was able to dislodge.

According to Bright, the team was unable to complete the task within the given time frame.

According to Bright, visitors to the privately-owned zoo, which has a focus on exotic animals, are subject to bag checks. This is due to the fact that the zoo has strict rules prohibiting certain items, including squeezable pouches.

According to a post on the zoo’s social media page, the packaging used for food and drinks poses a serious threat to the animals. The lids on these containers resemble food to the animals, which has led to the implementation of bag searches. Despite these measures, some visitors still manage to sneak in these hazardous items. The zoo allows guests to leave and re-enter the premises as often as they like, making it easy for them to access their cars or picnic areas in the parking lot.

According to Bright, although the public has been supportive since Leif’s death was reported, nobody has yet provided any information about the manner in which the cap ended up inside the enclosure.

Bright emphasized that taking responsibility and coming forward would garner more respect from him. He expressed that the situation is exacerbated by the uncertainty surrounding what occurred and who is responsible.

According to Bright, the cap had no other way of landing inside the enclosure where Leif, his female mate, and other animals were housed, except by being thrown.

According to Bright, the zookeepers used to tease that the young antelope had a calm and friendly personality, often saying that he “liked to be in your pocket.” During feeding time, the antelope would follow the keepers around and even allow them to touch him, which was a stark contrast to the other animals in the zoo that were usually shy and easily frightened.

Bright revealed that Leif’s mate has been wandering aimlessly, searching for him since his death. Leif was a 7-year-old antelope who would have turned 8 on July 30, with a potential lifespan of 20-21 years. Despite his untimely demise, Bright believes that Leif had many years of life left in him.

The zoo boasts an impressive collection of swamp-dwelling animals, including the Sitatunga antelope, recognized for its distinct long splayed hooves. Apart from that, it also houses other rare species such as the addax, bongo, and scimitar oryx.

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