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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews Around the Republic of Mexico | July 2007 

Mexican Thunderstorms Kill Kangaroos
email this pageprint this pageemail usNoel Randewich - News Limited
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Red Kangaroo (Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph)
Guadalajara, Mexico - Violent thunderstorms caused the deaths of seven kangaroos at a Guadalajara zoo last week, say staff who are now pampering the remaining three mothers and their babies.

The zoo in the western city of Guadalajara brought the kangaroos from Texas in April and all went smoothly until last month, when the rainy season began.

Seven kangaroos died over a period of four weeks, most soon after harsh rain storms.

"They became apathetic in the morning, then sad in the afternoon, and by night they could be dead," said veterinarian Andrea Saucedo

"We would just be trying to understand what was happening, when oops another."

The kangaroos have ample food, shelter and outdoor space to hop at the zoo.

The animals were likely suffering stress from the move but the foul weather, including drastic daily swings in temperature, pushed some over the edge, the zoo believes.

"The storms weren't continuous," Ms Saucedo said.

"They were the only thing that was coinciding with the deaths."

Heavy rain soaks most of Mexico every June to September, causing floods and mudslides in many regions.

Hardy in their natural habitat, an estimated 57 million wild kangaroos live in Australia, nearly three times the human population.

The red kangaroo species at the Guadalajara zoo comes from arid central Australia.

The three surviving adult kangaroos gave birth just before arriving at the zoo. The joeys have just begun to poke their heads from their mothers' pouches, said zoo spokeswoman Danae Vazquez.

Vets in Australia were reluctant to speculate about the cause of the deaths without seeing the kangaroos and their environments first-hand.

Richard O'Neill, a safari guide in northwestern Australia, said the change in weather could have spooked them.

"Any animal, when you change his environment, will feel stress and that stress can be transmitted throughout the group," he said today.

Zoo workers are giving the remaining kangaroos added attention and vitamins and asking visitors to be extra quiet.

No kangaroos have died in the past three weeks and zookeepers are optimistic the survivors have adapted to their new home.

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