The Smithsonian's National Zoo is mourning the loss of an 11-month-old male dama gazelle named Gustav who died Aug. 7.
Cheetah Conservation Station keepers found the juvenile gazelle lying on the ground, alive but largely unresponsive due to what appeared to be a broken neck. Because of Gustav’s poor prognosis and declining quality of life, animal care staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him. Initial necropsy reports showed evidence of a cervical fracture, which indicates that something, perhaps the storm on the evening of August 6, may have spooked Gustav overnight and caused him to collide with a fence in the gazelles’ off-exhibit enclosure.
Gustav was born Sept. 7, 2018 to 8-year-old mother Zafirah and 4-year-old father Edem following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
The life span of the dama gazelle is unknown in the wild. In human care, individual males have lived up to 15 years and individual females have lived up to 19 years.