President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were great animal lovers and as such, during their time in the White House they were often gifted with unusual animals by foreign dignitaries.
One such animal was an unnamed zebra. Like many of the other more exotic animals (bears, lions, hyenas) the zebra was sent on to the National Zoo immediately upon its arrival in the United States without the President or his family ever seeing it. It was a sensible decision for all – the animals would be cared for in the zoo much better than they would be on the White House grounds.
It also may have felt a bit awkward for Roosevelt. Although he was a great lover of animals, he was also a proficient hunter and did not trouble to hide it. Many times during his lifetime he hunted bear, lion, cougar, coyote, and other big game animals – some of which he received as pets. But on the flip side, according to the NY Times, the Bronx Zoo came into existence as an entity due to a dinner party table conversation led by none other than Roosevelt.