Five animals have now died recently at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium

FILE-A visitor looks into an empty animal cage at a zoo. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The recent deaths of animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium has left the staff and leadership heartbroken and searching for answers. 

In total, five animals have died since July 2023, with three of the five dying when they were near their maximum life expectancy. 

Three animals that died recently, included a gorilla, who died during an anesthetic procedure on Feb. 1. The other deaths were an elephant calf, who passed away after a brief illness and a sea lion, who died during sedation, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported. 

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Following the recent deaths of the animals, the zoo closed for a day to allow the staffers to grieve.

Pittsburgh Zoo president and CEO Dr. Jeremy Goodman told WTAE-TV in a Monday news conference that it’s "unusual" to have that many animals die in a bunch.

Goodman also told the news outlet there was "no human error" linked to the animals deaths, despite three dying while receiving medical procedures.

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News of the deaths comes amid Pittsburgh zoo leadership negotiating to renew its accreditation.

According to WTAE, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium has an accreditation through the Zoological Association of America. The zoo is attempting to get it back after voluntarily giving it up nearly a decade ago. 

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.