The world’s largest zebra was killed in captivity last year after it had its head cut off by its own keeper, an investigation by the BBC has revealed.
The zoo in Virginia was forced to take the calf into its care after it fell ill with a parasitic infection in May last year.
A zookeeper was found with a fatal infection in a cell with a small animal pen.
The animal died on 17 October, a day after the zoo was forced by its carer to quarantine the captive zebra.
The carer was found dead with a heart condition, and the zoo subsequently had to euthanise the animal.
The zookeepers health is now under investigation, and a decision has been taken to prosecute the keeper.
Zoos are currently facing pressure to investigate and prosecute carers, but the BBC said it was still “trying to understand why” the carers death was allowed to go unpunished.
The investigation also revealed that the zoo’s carer had not been allowed to speak to any of the zoo staff in charge of the zebra’s care and had been forced to work in isolation.