A zoo is thought of by many as a safe place for animals, where they are cared for and pampered by zoo employees, and loved by the millions of visitors who clamber through the gates every year for a rare glimpse of wild, exotic animals. An air of excitement usually exists within the walls of a zoo, where children race to see their favorite residents, and even the adults cannot contain their enthusiasm when coming face to face with huge mammals they have seen only on TV or in the pages of a book.
Today, however, sadness reigns at Zoo Miami, where a beloved baby giraffe suffered a freak accident and died as a result of his injuries. According to Fox 4 News, Wesley the baby giraffe lived his entire, yet short, life at Zoo Miami. The baby giraffe was born just last May, making him only 8-onths-old.
— Paige Nelson (@DolphinPaige) January 7, 2016
The common saying states curiosity killed the cat, but it seems the baby giraffe had his fair share of curiosity as well, which ultimately led to the freak accident. Zoo Miami explains that Wesley was very curious about a procedure going on with one of the other giraffes. As Wesley was taken into the holding area, he was paying deep attention to the activity going on with his fellow zoo mate. The following is a statement excerpt from the Zoo Miami regarding the freak accident, posted to their Facebook page.
“He was able to squeeze his head between two posts that were separating the exhibit from the holding area and when he lowered his neck, his head became lodged. Though the staff was able to dislodge him within a few minutes, it was too late to prevent significant injury to the giraffe. For several hours, the veterinary team tried a variety of treatments and supportive care. However, after a consistent and dramatic decline in his condition, the difficult decision was made to euthanize him.
“Wesley was the 48th giraffe born at Zoo Miami and this is the first accident of its kind in the zoo’s history. Zoo staff is making immediate modifications to the area to prevent any such accident from happening again by closing any gaps that would allow an animal to lodge itself in a similar manner. In addition, the management team is closely examining each area throughout the rest of the zoo to insure that none of the other animals could be exposed to the same danger.”
Buttercup, the last remaining baby of the six giraffes residing at Zoo Miami, is just two weeks older than Wesley, and the same height. Great care will be taken to ensure that Buttercup does not suffer a similar fate.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 7, 2016
USA Today reports that, although zoo officials made haste and were able to free Wesley from the poles within a few minutes, the freak accident left the panicked baby giraffe with an apparent spinal injury that was just too great to overcome. Sadly, zoo veterinarians had to euthanize Wesley following the freak accident.
“When a giraffe can’t stand, he can’t survive. So we humanely euthanized him,” states one of the zoo officials, who explains in detail exactly how the freak accident came to happen, and why the baby giraffe could not be saved. Watch this explanation in the following video, and catch a glimpse of the only remaining baby giraffe at the zoo.
This freak zoo accident has cast a shroud of sadness over the zoo and its many employees. With care and vigilance, the zoo plans to ensure that this type of accident never happens again.
[Image via Shutterstock]