Baby Giraffe Dies In Central California Zoo Accident During VIP Event

A baby giraffe, born at a Central California zoo last month, has died after an unfortunate accident.

According to a report by ABC News, a male giraffe, who was born at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, California on September 9, died on Sunday evening during a VIP event for the new African Adventure exhibit, which is scheduled to open on Tuesday, October 13. General curator Dan Subaitis said the giraffe reportedly ran into a single wire fence that was put up to protect the trees from the animals.

The giraffe's impact with the fence is believed to have broken his neck.

Zoo spokeswoman Alisha Anderson said the baby giraffe, who weighed 188 pounds (85 kg) at birth, was the first animal to be born in the new exhibit, and the 12th reticulated giraffe birth in the zoo's history. Currently, an exact cause of death has not been determined, however a necropsy (an autopsy performed on an animal) will be performed to find out. Zoo supporters who were attending the event to check out the new exhibit witnessed the animal lying on the ground.

"Guests were really upset," Anderson said, according to Reuters, reported via Yahoo News. "Our staff is devastated."

According to the Fresno Chafee Zoo's official website, the new exhibit, called the African Adventure, is an "18-acre, multiphase expansion which will feature new animal species in spectacular naturalistic exhibits, many multi-species, that together will emulate the African plains and savannas." Not only will the exhibit feature a state-of-the-art home for a pride of African lions, it will also provide a new top-notch habitat for a herd of African elephants, white rhinos, and a giraffe feeding station. The feeding station will be temporarily unavailable because the zoo's giraffes move to their new location at the exhibit. The exhibit will also feature a brand new restaurant called Kopje Lodge. Sunday's unfortunate incident isn't the first to strike a zoo this year. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the Dallas Zoo in Dallas, Texas announced that their world-famous baby giraffe named Kipenzi had died after running into the perimeter edge of its habitat. The collision resulted in Kipenzi, which is Swahili for "Loved One," breaking three vertebrae in her neck. Kipenzi first became famous after her birth was live-streamed on Animal Planet.

"Running is a typical behavior for giraffes of all ages, especially young ones like Kipenzi," Harrison Edell, the Dallas Zoo's senior director of living collections explained at the time. "We've been very cautious with where we've allowed Kipenzi to roam, as we were with her siblings Kopano and Jamie when they were small. It's heartbreaking that this happened where it did despite our precautions."

The zoo issued a statement on their Facebook page following Kipenzi's death.

"HEARTBROKEN: We are devastated to share the tragic loss of our beloved giraffe calf, Kipenzi. This evening as the giraffe herd was shifting inside for the night, Kipenzi began scampering around, as she loved to do. She made a sharp turn, and ran into the perimeter edge of the habitat. She broke three vertebras in her neck, and passed away immediately. Her mother, Katie, visited Kipenzi before veterinarians removed her."
[Photo via Shutterstock]