Spectators watched in horror as a giraffe was killed by an eland antelope in the Kristiansand Zoo in Norway Monday. Norway will mourn Melvin the Giraffe, who was born back in 2010 and was well known.
The animal kingdom can be brutal sometimes, but it was totally unexpected when the incident happened in the zoo. Melvin had apparently gotten his head stuck in the fence and couldn’t move as the antelope lunged in to attack.
The zoo was full of visitors enjoying the Easter Monday holiday and onlookers were shocked when there appeared to be no zookeepers on hand to assist the poor animal as the giraffe was killed.
Glenn Ivan Andreasen witnessed the attack and told the local Norwegian media that he was surprised no one was there to help the giraffe.
“Everyone was in shock, but what surprised me most was that there was no staff present. Several of those who were witnesses tried to call the hotline to alert those working in the park, but no one answered. I found it very strange that it took ten to fifteen minutes before someone intervened.”
Per Arnstein Aamodt, the zoo’s chief executive said in a statement that two zookeepers were on duty and came to the scene as quickly as they could, but arrived in time to see the giraffe killed.
“There aren’t people with these animals all the time, but there are always zookeepers at work. I understand that there were two zookeepers at work today and both came to the scene after a short time.”
But not soon enough, it seems. Aamodt did confirm that the antelope had killed the giraffe and that they are investigating.
“I still don’t have a clear picture of what happened, but the giraffe is dead. Our vet Rolf Arne Ølberg has confirmed this. He will perform an autopsy on the giraffe now. He arrived before the giraffe died, but he was unable to save it.”
Ølberg, the vet, apologized in a statement to all who had witnessed the attack in a press release Monday night.
“The animal kingdom is occasionally brutal. But we don’t think it’s nice that so many of our visitors, large and small, got an involuntary insight into this today.”
To make matters worse, Melvin the giraffe had won the heart of many Norwegians. as the zoo ran a poll in the VG newspaper to name him when he was born back in 2010.
Among the 1,600 suggestions received by the newspaper, the zoo finally settled on the name “Melvin.”
As reported by the Local, Øivind Hansen, one of the onlookers who witnessed the attack said it was a “horrible experience for everyone who saw it,” and that it affected everyone.
“It was very traumatic. People were crying everywhere.”
A video of Melvin the giraffe being born is included below. It is fascinating to see the animals in the next enclosure hanging over the fence to watch and welcome the little guy. RIP Melvin.
This is, of course, not the first tragedy related to giraffes in Europe in recent times.
The Inquisitr reported last year that the Copenhagen Zoo received death threats after an incident involving a healthy young male giraffe killed by the zoo. The zoo then made a gruesome display for visitors as they fed Marius the giraffe’s carcass to the lions in front of spectators, causing an international uproar.
[Image: Screengrab from YouTube video]