BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A second endangered animal at Binder Park Zoo has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Zoo officials said Wednesday that tests confirmed EEE killed both Mexican gray wolf pups that died during the first weekend of September. Zoo officials confirmed the first pup’s death Tuesday. Hours later, test results came back on the second pup which had an existing liver condition.
The pups were part of a litter born at the zoo on June 14 aimed at rebuilding the species’ numbers. Binder Park Zoo says its staff and veterinarian are closely monitoring the lone surviving pup and both parents, who all appear to be healthy.
Zoo veterinarian Kim Thompson said EEE infections in canines are “very, very rare.” She said species considered highly susceptible to the mosquito-borne disease are vaccinated for it every year, including equine and ostriches.
In response to the concerns about EEE, the zoo has set up five mosquito spraying stations and are providing repellent at no charge. Officials are also working with a consultant to see what other measures can be taken to protect the animals and zoo visitors.
The zoo now has fall hours, which end at 4 p.m. Therefore, people will not be inside around dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
According to the zoo, the Mexican gray wolf is extremely rare and is classified as endangered with a population of just 131 documented in the wild in 2018.