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Wellington Zoo 'devastated' after antelope spooked by fireworks dies

Staff at Wellington Zoo are "devastated" after one of their nyala antelopes died after apparently being spooked by fireworks on Guy Fawkes night.

A male nyala named Skipper was found dead on Wednesday morning after he ran into a fence as people let off fireworks in the surrounding areas.

"Wellington Zoo staff were incredibly upset to discover a dead male nyala, a large antelope species, in his habitat on the morning of November 6," Wellington Zoo's general manager of animal care and science Daniel Warsaw said.

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Amy Jo McMillan’s dog Teka was in the distressed state for more than an hour. Source: Supplied

"We believe that the combination of fireworks night, and a fire that occurred in close proximity to the Zoo, caused his death.

"The nyala was spooked on Guy Fawkes night, and he ran into a fence.

"Post mortem results show his death was caused by high levels of stress.

"When a prey animal like a nyala is sufficiently spooked, their natural flight response kicks in, and all it will think about is running away, and it loses all rationality.

Mr Warsaw said they zoo supported large-scale community fireworks events, and the banning of private use. 

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Pete Gallagher said “the time is coming” for when a discussion needs to be held over private fireworks displays. Source: 1 NEWS

Nyala antelopes are native to southern Africa and can typically live about 20 years.

Read more: 'How is this right?' Southland pet owner shares video of dog terrified by fireworks

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Firefighters were called out to scrub fires across the country, escalating calls for a fireworks ban. Source: 1 NEWS

A male nyala antelope. Source: CC/kjersti Holmang/Wikimedia Commons