Zoo Miami is mourning the loss of a juvenile painted dog on Monday morning “following equipment failure.”
“During a routine transfer of the pack which includes both parents and the five juveniles, for an as of yet unknown reason, a cable that supported a solid metal guillotine door separated and the door then fell on the animal,” zoo spokesman Ron Magill said.
The highly endangered animal was killed instantly.
An investigation is under way to determine the exact cause of the failure, Magill told the Miami Herald.
“Initial indications are that the cable itself snapped,” he said. “Now, we just need to find out why.”
Holding areas for most of the carnivores, omnivores, and primates at the zoo consist of a series of enclosures that are connected by a system of hallways, according to the zoo. “It is important to note that this system of guillotine doors is only used to provide access within a secure area between the animals and their exhibit habitat and that no animal would have access to any public areas as a result of such a failure.”
The female was one of five puppies — one male and four females — born on Jan. 23.
The litter of painted dogs — also known as African Wild Dogs, and excellent hunters — made their debut at Zoo Miami in March at just six weeks old.
There are fewer than 6,000 African painted dogs left in the wild, and they are in danger of extinction.
Another high-profile death at the zoo happened in February, when a 50-year-old African elephant named Cita was killed after a confrontation with another elephant.
Back in August 2018, Bocco the chimp died suddenly in his enclosure at the age of 28. Chimps generally live around 50 to 60 years.