Squeezable Food Pouch Killed Beloved Antelope, Zoo Says

This is why the pouches aren't allowed, the zoo says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 14, 2024 1:50 PM CDT
Squeezable Food Pouch Killed Beloved Antelope, Zoo Says
A sitatunga named Leif in his enclosure at Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee. The zoo said that Leif died Saturday, June 8, 2024, after choking on a squeezable food pouch.   (Brights Zoo via AP)

A rare antelope choked on a squeezable food pouch and died over the weekend at a northeastern Tennessee zoo, officials said. Lief, a 7-year-old male sitatunga, died Saturday at Brights Zoo, the family-owned zoo in rural Limestone said in a social media post mourning the loss of the "beloved animal" due to choking. The post included an image of fruit sauce pouches, the AP reports. Pouch packaging is dangerous to the animals, and pouches aren't allowed at the zoo, the zoo said. "If you look at these lids from an animal perspective it looks like food," the zoo said in its post. "This is what forced us to do bag searches but yet some people find ways to sneak these in." The zoo pointed out that guests can go to their cars and an outdoor picnic area and re-enter the zoo as often as they wish, Fox News reports.

The sitatunga is a swamp-dwelling antelope native to Africa with a lifespan of around 22 years in human care, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. Sitatunga populations are considered abundant in the wild and they have a conservation status of "least concern," but their habitat is at risk as human development continues. "He still had a lot of life to live," Brights Zoo said, posting a photo of Lief.

(More antelope stories.)

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