A death at the zoo

January 7, 2011

Zebra the latest fatality at Canadian zoo

KENYA/CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – A zebra has died of unknown causes at a Canadian zoo that has come under fire for several animal fatalities in recent years, officials said on Friday.

In a population of several hundred animals you would expect a reasonable percent to die each year as do people.

Do you report every death in your news organisation with a comment on how many have died before there?

It is important to inform your readers responsibly not in that inflammatory manner which infers blame. What criteria do you apply to ensure balance?


The death of this zebra, which exhibited no previous health problems, was widely reported by others, as well.

The fact that a hippo, four gorillas, a capybara and 41 stingrays have died at the same zoo in recent years means the place is in the spotlight, and is part of the story.

Our story states facts, and does not assign blame. When a cause of death is known, we will report that, too: GBU Editor

A zebra grazes at the Lake Nakuru National park in Kenya’s Rift Valley,  October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

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One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

It may be interesting to note a comparison to another zoo of similar size with a notably lower death rate?

I suspect the commenter would then have had a comparison and known why he was expected to raise an eyebrow in concern … if ALL zoos have similar death rates, there was no reason for the story … if NO other zoos have even half this death rate, up goes the eyebrow, right?

I’m not a journalist, but I’m thinkin’ a bit of research to determine if this actually IS a story would be in order, and if it isn’t a story, then the real story would be why officials are messin’ with this zoo, right?

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