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Baby Giraffe Found Dead with Broken Neck at Florida Zoo in 'a Devastating Loss'

Zoo Miami shared that it is searching "for any indication of what may have led to this very sad incident."

<p>Ron Magill/Zoo Miami</p> The female giraffe calf that died at Zoo Miami after breaking her neck

Ron Magill/Zoo Miami

The female giraffe calf that died at Zoo Miami after breaking her neck
  • On Monday, Zoo Miami announced a female giraffe calf was found dead at the Florida park on Saturday

  • The 3-month-old giraffe died after breaking her neck

  • Zoo Miami is unsure how the fatal injury occurred since the incident happened unobserved in an area with no cameras

A baby giraffe died due to a shocking accident in a Florida zoo over the weekend.

Zoo Miami announced on Monday that its female giraffe calf, born on Dec. 15, was found dead on Saturday morning in one of the zoo's giraffe enclosures.

Zoo communications director Ron Magill told the Sun Sentinel that animal care staff found the young giraffe dead at about 7 a.m. By then, the animal's body had entered a state of rigor mortis.

"That tells us it had been dead for at least a couple of hours, probably longer," he told the outlet.

The zoo said that a necropsy was performed on the animal, which determined that the young giraffe died after breaking her neck.

Related: Rare Spotless Giraffe Photographed in the Wild Weeks After Birth of Similar Calf at U.S. Zoo

"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," the zoo said in a statement.

Zoo Miami added that it is unclear how the young giraffe broke her neck because the incident "happened overnight" and "was not personally observed." Zoo officials speculated that the animal may have gotten "startled," which caused her to "run into a fence" and sustain a "fatal injury."

"We don't have any footage in that area of the giraffe habitat, and that's something they're looking at — are they going to be able to install cameras because we'd sure like to know what caused that," Magill told the Sun Sentinel about why there is no footage of the calf's death.

"We didn't see any evidence of any kind of predator. For all we know, it could have been a wasp that stung it in the middle of the night and freaked it out," he added to the outlet.

Related: Baby Giraffe Dies at Texas Zoo Days After Mother Giraffe's Death

The zoo's statement on the calf's death echoes Magill's comments, noting that the zoo is continuing its search "for any indication of what may have led to this very sad incident."

Zoo Miami noted that the giraffe's death was an isolated incident and "no other giraffe in the herd displayed any signs of trauma." The giraffes in the dead calf's herd have "returned to their normal routines," and keepers are monitoring the animals for "any indication of stress or abnormal behavior."

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Zoo officials said counseling will be available to staff following the incident through its partnership with the organization "GRAZE," which stands for Growing Resiliency for Aquarium and Zoo Employees.

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the first few months of a giraffe's life "are the most vulnerable." The nonprofit also noted that "over 50% of giraffe calves don't survive their first year in some populations."

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