NORFOLK, Va. — Accidents can happen at any zoo, in any city, and in any country.
Animals sometimes injure themselves or escape, and any expert will tell you it comes with the territory of having zoos.
The animals are, after all, wild.
But there are those rare cases that defy nature, and leave zookeepers stunned.
One of those cases happened at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk 18 years ago.
“We do everything we can to build the exhibits to the standards that we know have worked in other places,” said former Virginia Zoo Director Lewis Greene in 2005.
No planning or precautions could have prepared zoo workers for a 4-year-old Grant’s Zebra named Zeke.
The striped troublemaker became a legend after his misadventures at the zoo, beginning in October 2004.
It’s believed Zeke chased a 32-year-old white rhino into a moat where the animal drowned. Any skepticism over Zeke’s involvement in the death was silenced just months later in February 2005.
Hoofed animals like Zebras typically stay away from rocky terrain.
Leaving his mate and their daughter behind, Zeke escaped the comforts of his exhibit and trekked down a rocky ledge into the lion’s den. That’s when he came face to face with a 6-year-old lioness named Kalisa.
To the surprise of zookeepers, not only did Zeke survive the confrontation, he left Kalisa wet, muddy, and scared after being kicked or bitten by the zebra.
The trail of trouble would end that May when Zeke was transferred to the African Safari Wildlife Park in Ohio to help breed.
13News Now reached out to the African Safari Wildlife Park to see if Zeke is still there. We have yet to hear back.