Zoo Giraffe's Death Is 'Unprecedented'

Parker of the Seneca Park Zoo died after his neck became stuck in gate support
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2023 12:03 PM CST
Zoo Giraffe's Death Is 'Unprecedented'
Parker, a Masai giraffe, at the Seneca Park Zoo.   (Seneca Park Zoo)

A young endangered giraffe beloved by visitors to his New York zoo has died in a tragic accident, officials announced Monday. Parker, a 6-year-old Masai giraffe, was found unresponsive with his neck caught in a support structure of an enclosure gate at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester on Sunday and couldn't be saved, reports CBS News. USA Today reports the giraffe's neck broke when he tried to free himself. Zoo Superintendent Steve Lacy described the incident as "unforeseen and unprecedented." There'd been no known incidents with the gate—"a standard giraffe enclosure feature ... used in a number of accredited zoos around the country"—whose manufacturer has been notified, according to a press release.

It notes zoo officials are "taking steps to modify the enclosure gate structure," which has been in place since 2018, "to prevent any possibility of a reoccurrence." The young giraffe—one of four Masai giraffes at the zoo—"had been in excellent health prior to this and was a joy to both staff and visitors," said zoo veterinarian Chris McKinney. He said Parker's companions—a male offspring less than a year old and two females—"are doing well" so far. Dan Ashe of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums expressed condolences to the zoo community and "all the dedicated professionals" who "have our confidence in their exceptional care of animals." (Read more giraffes stories.)

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