On Saturday morning, March 16, officials with Zoo Miami announced that a young female giraffe was tragically found deceased. After the Zoo Miami Health Facility performed a necropsy, experts were able to confirm the giraffe died from a broken neck.

At this time, officials believe that something possibly startled the young giraffe, causing the animal to run into a fence at high speed. The giraffe was found by the zoo’s staff in the morning hours.

Ron Magill, a representative from Zoo Miami, conveyed the circumstances surrounding a tragic event with a young giraffe, stating, “Because the event that led to this trauma happened overnight and was not personally observed, zoo officials can only speculate that something startled the animal and caused it to run into a fence, resulting in the fatal injury.” This explanation suggests an unforeseen and unfortunate accident as the cause of the loss.

Addressing the impact this event might have on the giraffe’s herd mates, Magill highlighted the zoo’s proactive approach: “Zoo staff continues to monitor the other giraffes.” He reassured that, according to observations, “all of the other giraffes have returned to their normal routines without incident, and none of them are showing any signs of trauma,” indicating the resilience of the remaining animals.

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Reflecting on the broader implications of the incident, Magill expressed a heartfelt response, “This has been a devastating loss, and all procedures are being carefully evaluated to help ensure the prevention of any similar incidents in the future.” This statement underscores the zoo’s commitment to learning from the event and enhancing safety measures.

Zoo Miami also spoke through a media advisory, stating, “As part of a support system for staff dealing with the loss, Zoo Miami partners with an organization called ‘GRAZE,’ which stands for Growing Resiliency for Aquarium and Zoo Employees, to provide counseling in times of crisis and loss for those who may need it.” GRAZE is not the only organization Zoo Miami has partnered with in its loyalty to its staff and wildlife.

The Zoo Miami Conservation Fund, founded in 1998, was created to promote efforts toward the conservation of wildlife and natural ecosystems across the world. The fund was crafted to help Zoo Miami support conservation organizations around the globe through yearly grants, and since its inception, it has provided numerous grants to support a wide range of projects. Over the years, funds have been distributed for wildlife rehabilitation centers in countries like Belize and Guatemala and supporting anti-poaching patrol forces in Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

Alongside its history of providing funding to various organizations in support of giraffe conservation in the wild, Zoo Miami also has an extensive history of caring for baby giraffes. According to Magill, a total of 60 calves were born at the zoo.

In describing the manner in which the herd takes to a new calf and vice versa, zoo officials said, “The calf seemed to be unfazed by the others in the herd as they slowly approached him to get a closer look and an occasional lick from their nearly 20-inch long tongues.” The statement referencing a giraffe born on Friday, December 16, continued, “He spent the morning getting better acquainted with the herd while exploring the habitat from one end to the other. The neonatal exam that was performed on Saturday indicated that the calf is strong and healthy.”

The young female giraffe that passed away during this tragic incident was born at Zoo Miami on December 15.