Endangered crocodile found dead after ‘electrocuting’ himself at National Zoo
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Featured Image Credit: Smithsonian's National Zoo
An endangered Cuban crocodile was tragically found dead in his enclosure at The National Zoo in DC after fatally electrocuting himself.
He is believed to have aggressively attacked a power outlet located a few feet above the ground of the enclosure.
The male crocodile was 10 years old at the time of death, having hatched in 2012, and was part of the Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI)'s breeding program for the protected species
A long term resident of the Smithsonian's National Zoo, the reptile was found by a member of staff who alerted the extended team.
There are approximately just 3,000 Cuban crocodiles living in the wild, deeming the species 'critically endangered'.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, this particular breed of crocodile can only be found in a limited range located in Cuba.
Staff at the zoo concluded that the reptile had spotted the electrical outlet and attacked it, with the voltage from the electrical infrastructure causing the untimely demise.
Zoo officials have confirmed that a pathology report is underway to ultimately confirm the cause of the crocodile's death.
The new outlet, said to be a replacement for an original outlet, was placed higher than the previous one at around 4.5 feet above the ground, which was likely to have caught the eye of the predator.
The crocodile began attacking the outlet by furiously pulling the electrical equipment from the wall and biting at it, causing an electric current to pass through the body of the crocodile which eventually shocked him to death.
Officials at The DC National Zoo have confirmed that regular inspections are conducted throughout the day by staff at the zoo, ensuring animal safety.
At the time of the last inspection, there were no reported areas of the enclosure that were a cause for concern and electrical outlets were believed to be intact.
The crocodile had resided in this particular enclosure for several years without any prior concern or issues and the exhibit was inspected by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2018, which it passed.
For the foreseeable future, The DC National Zoo have said they have no plans to house another animal in this particular enclosure, and they will continue to look further into the cause of the accident.
The incident has led them to install redundant electric breakers throughout the reptile house to avoid any other issues.