A three-month-old baby giraffe named Kipenzi has died in an accident at the Dallas Zoo. The zoo announced on Facebook that the giraffe was running around her enclosure when she ran into its perimeter edge and broke her neck. The zoo livestreamed her birth online in April. According to the zoo’s announcement, Kipenzi broke three vertebrae in her neck and died instantly:
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 vertebra in her neck, and passed away immediately. Her mother, Katie, visited Kipenzi before veterinarians removed her.
The zoo is also responding to criticism on Facebook that the giraffe died because it was in captivity, telling one person:
[Y]ou misunderstand what happened. Kipenzi was in a smaller area of the habitat because she was a calf. The entire Savanna is extremely large, and the way a giraffe calf runs, it was more of a risk to her. This was a tragic, heartbreaking accident, nothing more. Our Savanna is an award-winning habitat that sets the standard worldwide for endangered animals in human care. We urge you to support giraffe conservation in Africa, as we do.
The zoo’s livestream of Kipenzi’s birth was an enormous publicity draw for both them and Animal Planet; they installed eight cameras in the giraffe “birthing suite” and ran a long followup special on the channel about the giraffe’s care.
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Kipenzi, right, with older brother Kopano. Image via Facebook/Dallas Zoo