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Coyotes Break Into Smithsonian Zoo, Kill Endangered Gazelle

The news out of D.C. has officials scrambling to ensure they’re protecting zoo animals from coyotes.

In rather tragic news out of the Smithsonian, an incredibly rare dama gazelle was killed by a small pack of coyotes inside the zoo’s Conservation Biology Institute. This area of the zoo, comprised of 3,200 acres, houses some of the rarest and most vulnerable animals on the planet.

After discovering the remains of the gazelle, with numbers estimating only 200 left in the wild, it became very apparent a trio of suspected coyotes entered the safety zone by digging under a fence.

In a report from the Washington Post, the institute’s deputy director William Pitt is taking this incident pretty hard. This is the first time in the zoo’s history that any animal has fallen victim to such circumstances. In a hard decision for the deputy director, he has ordered the three suspected culprits to be killed.

“It is a choice you have to make,” Pitt said. “It hasn’t been an easy decision for me… If there were a thousand coyotes on the property and this [killing] didn’t happen, it would be fine.”

As it stands today, the plan is to hire a hunter to stake out the area where they entered the sanctuary, play a distress call, then shoot them when they enter. Strict orders have also been given to only attempt to take out the coyotes responsible for the incident.

“It could be two of them,” Pitt said. “It could be one of them. But probably that trio. And so what we’re going to do is, just in that localized area, try to target those animals and remove those ­individuals.”

Unfortunately for the zoo, they are just now seeing how much of a problem these crafty scavengers are all over the country. As Pitt admitted in his interview, coyotes are probably all over the zoo. Taking out these three may be a problem.


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Coyotes Break Into Smithsonian Zoo, Kill Endangered Gazelle