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Basel - Three hippos attacked and killed a zebra they had lived alongside for 12 years in front of shocked visitors at the Basel Zoo, authorities said on Thursday.
Kalungu, a 17-year-old male zebra, was knocked into the water and mauled after he bit the lip of hippo Wilhelm during the animals' daily ritual to establish territory, said zoo spokesperson Tanja Dietrich. The zebra managed to get out of the water but collapsed and died shortly after.
Kalungu had lived alongside the hippos, as well as ostriches, in the African enclosure of the zoo for 12 years, Dietrich said. The animals were trusted together, and Kalungu had even been known to pick bits of food from Wilhelm's open mouth.
Dietrich said the incident was caused by Kalungu's unusual behaviour and would not lead the zoo to change its policy of keeping different animals in the same enclosure. - Sapa-AP