Ostrich dies after swallowing zoo worker's keys

A beloved ostrich has died after swallowing a zoo worker's keys.

Staff at Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center in the US said they were "devastated by the loss" of the five-year-old bird named Karen.

She had reached over a fence to snatch and swallow the staff member's set of keys, the zoo said.

Staff consulted with experts around the US "to undergo surgical and non-surgical efforts" in a bid to save the ostrich but had no success.

Karen was euthanised on Thursday and "passed away in staff's hands", said Fawn Moser, the zoo's interim director.

The zoo in Kansas said there had been an investigation into the incident and it was "taking appropriate actions regarding the team member involved".

"We are devastated by the loss of Karen," Ms Moser said.

"She was not just an animal; she was a beloved member of our community. Our thoughts are with our dedicated animal care team, who formed deep bonds with Karen during her time with us."

The ostrich had been at the zoo since March 2023.

She was known for her love of playing in water and "being our 'dancing queen!'", the zoo said.

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The zoo said it would review and enhance safety protocols for its animals.

Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center is home to more than 300 animals, according to its website.