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A Grevy's zebra, the same species as the one shown here at a zoo in Edinburgh, Scotland, died near Calgary on Dec. 22, 2010.Jeff J Mitchell

A zebra with no apparent health problems has died at the Calgary Zoo's breeding ranch.

The endangered Grevy's zebra, which is native to East Africa, was born in Florida and had lived mainly at the zoo's Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre for the last six years.

A news release from the zoo said the 13-year-old animal, named Igali, was found unconscious in a heated barn Wednesday. It was treated and regained consciousness, but was still unable to stand and died the same day.

A cause of death cannot be determined until pathology reports are completed early next year.

"This is a particularly difficult loss for the zoo," communications director Simon Scott said in the release. "Not only are Grevy's zebras part of a managed breeding program operated by North American zoos, but Igali was a well-loved resident of our ranch near DeWinton, Alta."

Igali had access to both his outdoor and indoor enclosures. The zoo said no previous problems had been observed by his keepers and he was not known to have suffered any apparent health problems.

The Calgary Zoo has experienced several animal deaths in recent years. A hippo died after a long, painful transfer from another zoo. More than 40 stingrays perished after someone messed up oxygen levels in their tank. A large spiral-horned wild goat got caught in a toy rope and strangled. A capybara, a giant central American rodent, was crushed to death when a worker closed a hydraulic door.

Last June, a report by the groups that accredit zoos across North America suggested the deaths weren't just an unfortunate fluke. It said human error was behind more of the deaths than at other zoos and urged immediate steps be taken to make sure animals in Calgary remained safe.

The report painted a picture of crumbling, aging facilities and outlined serious communication breakdowns between managers and staff. It also noted a pervasive sense of low morale.

The accreditation groups also urged the zoo to step up security. They said its fences were easily climbed and "vagrants living in the area have been observed on the grounds after hours seeking shelter."

It was a reference to two men in 2009 who climbed over a couple of fences, including one around the perimeter of the animal park, and then tried to get into the tiger enclosure. One man had his arm seriously mauled.

Zoo president Clement Lanthier disputed some of the report's findings, but also said the facility would implement a 36-point plan to address the problems outlined.

He said many of the issues raised had already been addressed.

Grevy's zebras are the largest of all the zebras at 350 to 430 kilograms. They are horse-like with broad, rounded ears and a long, narrow head. They have narrow and numerous stripes on the body and legs, but their belly is usually pure white.

The animals prefer the dry savannahs of northern Kenya, Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.

Their lifespan is 25 to 30 years.