Zoo Ostrich Dies After Swiping, Swallowing Keys

'Beloved' 5-year-old Karen euthanized at Kansas' Topeka Zoo
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2024 7:50 AM CDT
Zoo Ostrich Dies After Stealing, Swallowing Keys
Karen the ostrich.   (Topeka Zoo)

Curiosity killed the cat, and it proved fatal for the ostrich. A "beloved" ostrich at a zoo in Kansas died Thursday after reaching outside her enclosure, grabbing a staff member's keys, then immediately swallowing them, NBC News reports. Karen the ostrich, dubbed the "dancing queen" at Kansas' Topeka Zoo, had to be euthanized Thursday as a result, the zoo said in a Friday post. It said staff consulted with experts around the country about "surgical and non-surgical efforts to minimize the impact of the keys" but "these efforts were unsuccessful."

The zoo's interim director Fawn Moser said staff were "devastated by the loss." Karen, a 5-year-old ostrich who'd been at the zoo since March 2023, "was not just an animal; she was a beloved member of our community," Moser said. The ostrich was known for her "playful antics," including playing with a sprinkler and dancing, per the New York Times. The zoo said it was "taking appropriate actions regarding the team member involved" and would review and enhance animal safety protocols. (More ostrich stories.)

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