Speke’s gazelle passes away at Akron Zoo


The Akron Zoo is mourning the loss of its male Speke’s gazelle, Gondar. Gondar’s health began to decline in the last week and a subsequent vet procedure discovered a mass on his lung. The difficult decision was made to humanely euthanized Gondar. Necropsy results confirmed the substantial mass, and testing will be sent out to determine if its cancerous.

Gondar was born on July 14, 2017 at the St. Louis Zoo. He came to live here at the Akron Zoo in 2019 for the opening of Pride of Africa. Gondar fathered three gazelle fawns while at the Akron Zoo. 

In 2021, Gondar severely fractured his front leg, a serious injury for gazelles who have a lot of weight and pressure placed on a small area of their feet. The vet team at the Akron Zoo, along with a surgeon, Dr. Mark Daye, from Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital, conducted a surgery to place an external ring fixator on the leg to give him the best chance of survival.

After months of treatment, Gondar made a full recovery. Despite the permanent limp and bowed ankle, he was able to live a full life, running and jumping throughout the habitat. 

“Gondar has made a significant impact on my career in animal care,” said Lauren McKenna, animal care manager for the hoofstock/primate team at the Akron Zoo. “Through the amazing care and dedication of my team and our vet staff, we were able to help him pull through a life-threatening injury and give him three additional years of life. Gondar taught us all to enjoy the little things and not to take life for granted.”

Speke’s gazelles are listed as endangered by IUCN Red List due to habitat loss, hunting, illegal trade and lack of government protection. The species is the smallest species of gazelle and native to northern Somalia.