Rare Antelope Dies in Tennessee Zoo After Choking on Discarded Applesauce Pouch

The tragic accident happened at Brights Zoo in Tennessee on June 8

<p>Brights Zoo</p> A 7-year-old male antelope named Lief

Brights Zoo

A 7-year-old male antelope named Lief

A Sitatunga antelope has died from choking on a food pouch in a Tennessee Zoo. 

The 7-year-old male antelope named Lief died on Saturday, June 8, after choking on a squeezable applesauce pouch tossed away by visitors at Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tenn., the zoo announced in a post on Facebook.

“Some ask why we don’t allow squeezable pouches into the zoo. The reason is simple — the packaging is dangerous to our animals. Today we lost a beloved animal due to choking,” the post read.

The zoo urged visitors not to bring food pouches to the zoo following the tragic incident.

“If you look at these lids from an animal perspective it looks like food. This is what forced us to do bag searches but yet some people find ways to sneak these in. Guests are able to go to their car or the picnic areas in our parking lot as many times as they wish and re-enter the zoo.”

Brights Zoo added that Lief “still had a lot of life to live.”

Related: Rare Animal at Disney's Animal Kingdom Gives Birth in Time to Celebrate Mother's Day

<p>Brights Zoo</p> Brights Zoo urged visitors not to bring in food pouches.

Brights Zoo

Brights Zoo urged visitors not to bring in food pouches.

The tragic death comes ahead of what would have been the antelope's eighth birthday in July. Lief came to the zoo at 1 year old, according to USA Today.

Brights Zoo owner David Bright told the outlet that Lief got hold of the lid of the food pouch after a visitor discarded it in his exhibit after sneaking it in the zoo. He was found in distress by the zookeepers and unsuccessful attempts were made to remove the object from his airway as he died.

The zoo said on Facebook that they have not found the person responsible for discarding the pouch and “sadly don’t think we ever will.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Related: Spotless Baby Giraffe at Tennessee Zoo Named 'Kipekee' After Nationwide Vote

<p>Brights Zoo</p> 7-year-old male antelope named Lief

Brights Zoo

7-year-old male antelope named Lief

When asked by a user in the comment section about those who may require to bring food pouches to the zoo for medical reasons, e.g. if they are diabetic, the zoo responded that “we allow things like apple juice, 100% juice(not the pouches) and snacks in small quantities.”

“We also offer to hold any food items in our air conditioned ticket booth. Those items are bagged and the guest name written on them,” they added.

According to seaworld.org, sitatungas are medium-sized antelopes originating from Africa. They typically consume vegetation and fruit and shrubs occasionally.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.