MARWELL Zoo suffered a tragedy after a zebra died in a freak accident.

Kimbia, an eight-year-old female plains zebra, suffered a broken neck after zoo bosses believe she had been spooked by a sudden loud noise.

The zebra panicked and began to run, which led to a fatal injury at around 11am on November 2.

Investigations into what might have caused the loud sound were carried out, but the wildlife team were unable to establish a cause.

They believe that the source was from outside the wildlife park near Colden Common.

A Marwell Wildlife spokesman said: "This was a highly unusual and improbable accident.

"The zebra was spooked by something, possibly an external sudden loud noise and being a flighty animal, it collided with a gate.

"Kimbia unfortunately sustained a broken neck and died instantly, confirmed by post mortem.

"We successfully manage movements of animals in and out of the zoo all of the time, so this tragic incident has been a shock to all concerned."

Kimbia had recently arrived at Marwell from Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, alongside a five year old female plains zebra, called Neve.

It was reported that both the zebras had hit the gate following the noise, but Neve was entirely unharmed by the collision.

The spokesperson said: "Neve has now settled in well and will be joined by others shortly."

Plains zebra are recognised as the most common type of zebra, which are often represented in films and TV shows.

The species come from all across the African continent, ranging from the south of Ethiopia, through to east Africa to as far south as Botswana and eastern South Africa.

They are threatened by hunters, who kill them for their meat and hide, as well as competition with livestock and encroachment by farming on much of its habitat.

Due to the erratic nature of the species,