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Wild Deer Lands in Lion Habitat at the National Zoo

A wild white-tailed deer jumped into a lion exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Zoo Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8. There were two adult female lions in the habitat, one of which caught, trapped and injured the young adult doe. Zoo staff successfully transitioned the lions to their interior spaces.

The team tranquilized the deer, moved her off-exhibit for a medical examination and found that she had multiple life-threatening wounds. Zoo experts determined that the doe would not survive so they made the humane decision to euthanize her quickly. A full necropsy will be performed today.

The entire incident lasted approximately 45 minutes and was partially viewed by numerous Zoo visitors. The Zoo police cleared the area as quickly as possible for the safety of the public, Zoo staff and animals. The exhibit was reopened to the public at 3:30 p.m.