Fresh questions arise after kangaroo dies at Hokkaido zoo

Ume the kangaroo was found dead at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, which was previously questioned over its habitat conditions following a string of animal deaths
Ume the kangaroo was found dead at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, which was previously questioned over its habitat conditions following a string of animal deaths (Nippon News Network)

HOKKAIDO (TR) – A female kangaroo found dead at a zoo in Sapporo on Friday was likely killed after her neck was caught in the mesh of her feeding box, raising fresh questions over the zoo’s habitat conditions following a string of other animal deaths.

Officials at Sapporo Maruyama Zoo said a keeper found the eastern grey kangaroo named Ume lying dead in her cage in the morning because of a spinal cord injury, likely caused by her neck becoming dislocated after she stuck her nose into her feeding box, Nippon News Network reports (Jan. 7).

Crowds of visitors were gathered Saturday morning to mourn the sudden death of Ume, for whom the zoo had set up a memorial.

The zoo has implemented unspecified emergency measures to prevent other kangaroos from becoming caught in the mesh. Smaller mesh for feeding boxes were implemented last year.

Kato Osamu, director of Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, said the zoo has “ended up causing an extremely heartbreaking incident. We hope to properly examine what went wrong.”

Fresh questions have been raised over management and habitat conditions at the zoo following the deaths of other animals, including a sun bear that was being trained for breeding and a giraffe that suffocated on food, TV Asahi reported (Jan. 7).

A child visiting the zoo to pay respects for Ume said they were “sad she passed away.”

Another child said they “thought going to the zoo would mean there’d be lots of fun things, but [Ume] is gone, poor her.”

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