A beloved giraffe died in a New York zoo over the weekend when he fractured his neck after it got stuck in a support structure for his enclosure’s gate.
The six-year-old Masai giraffe named Parker was found unresponsive Sunday morning inside the Animals of the Savanna Building at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.
Veterinary personnel responded immediately but were unable to save the majestic animal.
“The possibility of this kind of event happening was unforeseen and unprecedented,” zoo Superintendent Steve Lacy said in a statement.
“The gate structure, installed in 2018, is a standard giraffe enclosure feature and is used in a number of accredited zoos around the country,” he added.
Parker fractured his neck when he tried to free himself, officials said.
The Seneca Park Zoo said the gate’s manufacturer has been notified, adding that there have been no reports of similar incidents with the structures at other zoos.
The US Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums also have been notified of the tragedy.
The zoo added that it would modify the gate to prevent this from happening again.
Parker, who arrived in Rochester from the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2018, was paired with female Masai giraffes Kipenzi and Iggy, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.
He and Iggy were parents to Olmsted, or Olmy, who was born April 29.
Parker’s other offspring, a male born to Kipenzi on July 12, was euthanized soon after birth after multiple interventions failed to correct a congenital abnormality of his left front fetlock joint.
Zoo veterinarian Chris McKinney said the facility’s three surviving giraffes are being monitored closely because “any major event can certainly affect them”.
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said: “This is a tragedy for the Seneca Park Zoo community.
“From the staff who cared for and loved Parker, to the Zoo guests and members who had their visits brightened by Parker’s presence, we are all grieving this tremendous loss,” he added.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission