The boy allegedly ignored warning signs and reached through a fence to touch the animal. Picture: iStock
The boy allegedly ignored warning signs and reached through a fence to touch the animal. Picture: iStock

Outrage as boy kills meerkat at zoo

A SCHOOLBOY who killed a pregnant meerkat during a school excursion at a zoo is being threatened online following the shocking incident.

The unnamed 12-year-old boy was on a school trip to Kecskemeti Zoo in Hungary when he ignored a series of warning signs to reach through a fence and touch the meerkat, named Zara, who was a local social media sensation after joining the zoo 18 months ago.

In a frantic bid to protect her family and unborn baby, Zara bit the boy on the finger.

He then swung her into the ground as he pulled his hand away, and she was killed by the force of the impact.

Zoo director Tamas Tokovics announced Zara's death in a moving Facebook post.

"Whose fault it is??" he asked. "That today's youth is becoming less and less respectful of nature, life, or that the escort teachers are becoming less and less aware of the students entrusted to them, or to the parents.

"They have less and less time for a conversation where they draw attention to their children in respect of each other and respect for nature."

 

Mr Tokovics told his followers Zara had long been a popular attraction at the zoo.

"I'm sure many of you remember that she became a media star a year and a half ago when she came to us," he wrote.

"With her bustle, curiosity, shirking, she stole herself into everyone's heart. For six months, she spent the day in my office every day and the nights at home in our house.

"She became an excellent playmate for our spaniel."

But while Mr Tokovics said people should not try to find a scapegoat for Zara's death, many social media users have threatened the boy's life, with one writing the child "should be smashed to the ground so hard he doesn't get up again".

Another wrote on Facebook: "You should have cut that stinky kid in the neck if he didn't get a head start," The Independent reported.

The incident follows a string of similar, high-profile incidents in zoos in recent years.

In May 2016, Harambe the Gorilla was shot and killed by Cincinnati Zoo staff after a four-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, prompting an extreme social media backlash against the child's parents and the zoo.

Just six days earlier, a male and female lion were shot after they began mauling a suicidal man who jumped into a lion enclosure at the Santiago Metropolitan Zoo in Chile.

And in 2012, a two-year-old child died after he fell into the African painted dogs enclosure at the Pittsburgh Zoo in the US.

The boy's mother had sat the boy on the railing of an observation deck before he slipped and fell, and one of the dogs was shot by zookeepers in the aftermath.


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