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Zebra bites National Zoo staffer

WASHINGTON – A 10-year-old zebra named Gumu bit a National Zoo keeper multiple times Monday and a 1-year-old gazelle “likely spooked” by what happened died after running into a barrier, the zoo says.

This is the first time a zebra has bitten anyone in the 20 years the zoo has been keeping herds of exclusively male zebras. The zoo has three male zebras.

“A zebra has very strong and severe bite,” says zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson. “The staff who remain here are completely focused on the animal.”

The zebra bit the animal care staffer, who has 15 years experience, in the arm and leg. The keeper was conscious after the attack and was taken to the hospital.



Gumu remains isolated from other animals, while the other zebras, Moyo and Domo, remain on exhibit.

The encounter happened in a holding area around 8:45 a.m.

The National Zoo says a 1-year-old male Dama gazelle, named Tony, suffered a fractured vertebrae after running into the a barrier.

The zoo says it is “actively investigating” the incident, which occurred on the same day the Sumatran tiger cubs made their public debut.

Every day the keepers will decide whether the cubs, Sukacita and Bandar, will spend time outside.

Click on the photo below to see more photos of the cubs’ debut.

Click to see photos of the cubs

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WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this story. Follow @kingWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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