Young Giraffe Euthanized After Freak Accident

According to the officials at a Florida zoo, Wesley the giraffe was euthanized after a so-called “freak accident.”

The young giraffe was just born last May at Zoo Miami. When he stuck his head in between two poles and got stuck, he sustained a spinal injury, which led to him being euthanized. He was in a holding area at the time. Although the staff freed the giraffe from the poles, he had already suffered a spinal injury.

Unfortunately, after multiple treatment attempts, the young giraffe’s health continued to decline. They tried different medications and therapies before they made the difficult decision to euthanize Wesley. They couldn’t get him to stay standing. They tried using a sling, as well, but nothing was helping the young giraffe.

Ron Magill of Zoo Miami made this statement to CBS Miami.

“He lowered his neck and wedged his head and panicked and as he panicked, he pulled his neck and obviously caused some traumatic injury to his spinal cord and neck.”

It was mentioned that Wesley was in the holding area and was trying to get a look at another giraffe undergoing an unstated procedure when he ended up stuck in between two bars.

Zoo's need to take precautions and close open gaps in the holding pens for the safety of the animals. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The zoo claims to be making immediate adjustments so that an incident like this will never happen again.

“Since then, we had a welder come out. We’ve closed every possible gap. We’ve blanketed the entire zoo to make sure something like that cannot happen in a similar way,” said Magill.

Wesley was the youngest giraffe born at Zoo Miami, being the 48th one and an accident like this never occurred before.

Zoo Miami mentioned the incident in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

“It is with a heavy heart that Zoo Miami announces the death of a young giraffe following a freak accident yesterday morning.

‘Wesley,’ a young male giraffe that was born last May at the zoo, had to be euthanized yesterday after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked, and caused an apparent spinal injury that eventually prevented him from being able to stand and maintain his equilibrium. The incident occurred during a procedure with another giraffe when Wesley went out on exhibit without incident and then returned to the holding area apparently trying to observe what was happening with the giraffe being examined.”

With little known similar accidents, this young giraffe suffered a very traumatic and rare incident. The last known incident that caused harm to a zoo animal took place on December 19 at a zoo in Taiwan, where a Panda accidentally swallowed a syringe needle. The caretaker was taking her blood when she took the needle out of her forearm with her mouth and accidentally swallowed it. The caretaker tried to take it out of her mouth but was unable to seize it.

A similar accident occurred back in July when a young giraffe, only three months old, was running around with his half-brother when he allegedly ran into an object and broke his neck. This young giraffe died instantly. Kipenzi was born at the Dallas Zoo, and his birth was broadcasted on Animal Planet.

(Photo by Frances M. Ginter/Getty Images)

Wesley the young giraffe will be deeply missed. A necropsy was performed, and they hope to be able to find out more details about the injury, as well as the extent of the young giraffe’s injury. The remainder of the zoo is being closely examined to be sure that no other animal is being exposed to dangerous conditions that could cause another similar incident.

This definitely was a “freak accident,” and hopefully, this incident will cause other zoos to take the same precautions to make sure their animals are safe from similar dangers.

[Photo by Jens Meyer/ AP Photo]