Dublin Zoo says claims raised by TD about shooting of zebra ‘completely false’

Striker, a 26 year old male zebra, was euthanised ‘humanely’, zoo says, after Paul Murphy claims involvement of unlicensed staff member

'The process was conducted safely, resulting in Striker passing away in the most humane manner possible,' Dublin Zoo says. File photograph: Ina Fassbender/Getty

Dublin Zoo has described as “completely false” claims that a zebra was shot dead at Dublin Zoo with a gun used by an unlicensed member of staff.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy raised the allegations in the Dáil on Tuesday, saying he understood the incident happened last week and the animal was “euthanised with a gun, as opposed to with an injection which is the appropriate and normal thing that happens in zoos around the world. This was not done by a vet and a vet is the only person licensed to do so”.

Mr Murphy said it was “not the case that the zebra was running around endangering people”.

The Dublin South-West TD said “there is a serious question about this event and there are other serious questions about the zoo”.


However, in a statement to The Irish Times on Tuesday evening, Dublin Zoo said this was not the case, and that it had made a decision to “humanely euthanise” Striker, a 26 year old male zebra.

“This decision followed careful consideration and adherence to best practices and recommended protocols for animal welfare in zoo management. The procedure was carried out with utmost compassion, using the most appropriate method to ensure Striker’s immediate and humane dispatch,” the statement said.

“The process was conducted safely, resulting in Striker passing away in the most humane manner possible.”

Accusations that the procedure was carried by an unlicensed member of staff were “completely false”, the zoo said, adding: “Any insinuations to the contrary are entirely incorrect and baseless.”

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Murphy called for a new and independent investigation at Dublin Zoo following the allegations, pointed to a previous investigation following protected disclosures and allegations made in the Dáil and Seanad.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) which carried out the inquiry found in 2022 that the majority of the 23 allegations about the zoo were unfounded.

There was some evidence found to support three “historical” allegations but the zoo had resolved the case and made changes.

Taoiseach Simon Harris said he was not aware of the situation which he described as a “very serious matter”. He told Mr Murphy he would seek a report from the relevant Government department and pointed out that “Dublin Zoo is independently run but receives funding from the State”.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times