Perhaps the saddest of the three recent animal deaths at a Smithsonian conservation center in Virginia was that of the scimitar-horned oryx, because it might be hoped that members of the same endangered species would avoid harming one another.
Rohit, a 4-year-old male scimitar-horned oryx, died Feb. 23, three days after “an altercation with a younger male,” the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute said.
Rohit, it said, had been the dominant male in what the zoo described as its “bachelor herd of critically endangered scimitar-horned oryx.”
The oryx is a species of antelope, and its backward-curving horns can grow to be several feet long.
Rohit lost one in the altercation, the zoo said. An initial necropsy showed a skull fracture and a brain injury.
The other animals that died late last month were an elderly 32-year-old whooping crane and a 5-year-old Eld’s deer. No obvious cause of death for the deer has been determined, the zoo said.