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Giraffe dies at Zoo Atlanta after getting portion of his neck stuck


A male giraffe died on Monday after getting his neck stuck in a railing at Zoo Atlanta.

Zuberi, an eight-year-old reticulated giraffe, was in the zoo’s behind-the-scenes giraffe complex when the incident occurred.  

According to a statement from the zoo, Zuberi had just been observed by members of his care team ‘before a portion of his neck became wedged in a small space in a metal railing’. 

The zoo’s Animal Care Team responded immediately, with the Veterinary Team and large-mammal animal care specialists.

Zuberi (pictured), an eight-year-old adult male reticulated giraffe, died Monday at Zoo Atlanta

Zuberi (pictured), an eight-year-old adult male reticulated giraffe, died Monday at Zoo Atlanta

Zoo officials said he died shortly after getting a portion of his neck wedged in a small place in a metal railing

Zuberi is pictured with another giraffe from his herd

Zoo officials said he died shortly after getting a portion of his neck wedged in a small place in a metal railing

But Zuberi succumbed to his injuries a short time later. 

‘The Zoo Atlanta family, and especially those animal care team members who are with the giraffes daily, are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic and unexpected loss,’ Hayley Murphy, the Vice President of Animal Divisions, said in the statement.

Murphy said Zuberi showed no signs of injury, illness or distress in the moments prior to his death. 

‘Our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams responded to the emergency right away, but despite their immediate and heroic efforts, were not able to save Zuberi,’ she added. 

The official cause of Zuberi’s death will not be known until after the completion of a necropsy that will be conducted through the zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Results will not be available for a few weeks. 

The other members of Zuberi’s herd, adult males Abu, 12, Etana, six, and Isooba, six, are behaving normally following the loss of their herd member, according to the statement. 

Zuberi’s herd does not have have access to the area where the incident occurred. 

The zoo's Animal Care Team responded immediately, with the Veterinary Team and large-mammal animal care specialists. But Zuberi (pictured) succumbed to his injuries a short time later

The zoo’s Animal Care Team responded immediately, with the Veterinary Team and large-mammal animal care specialists. But Zuberi (pictured) succumbed to his injuries a short time later

Hayley Murphy, the Vice President of Animal Divisions, said in a statement that Zuberi (right) showed no signs of injury, illness or distress in the moments prior to his death

Hayley Murphy, the Vice President of Animal Divisions, said in a statement that Zuberi (right) showed no signs of injury, illness or distress in the moments prior to his death

The other members of Zuberi's herd (pictured), adult males Abu, 12, Etana, six, and Isooba, six, are behaving normally following the loss of their herd member, according to the statement. Zuberi's herd does not have have access to the area where the incident occurred

The other members of Zuberi’s herd (pictured), adult males Abu, 12, Etana, six, and Isooba, six, are behaving normally following the loss of their herd member, according to the statement. Zuberi’s herd does not have have access to the area where the incident occurred

Zuberi was born on February 13, 2010, at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. He arrived to Zoo Atlanta in 2014. 

He was known for both his role within the herd and for his training relationships with his care team.

‘Zuberi was an important part of the giraffe herd and a special individual,’ Murphy said. 

‘We share the heartbreak of this event with the animal care professionals who knew him best and with our Veterinary Team, as well as our admiration for their outstanding commitment to Zuberi and to all the animals in our care.’

Zoo officials said that ‘safety checks on all animal areas are part of Zoo Atlanta’s regular daily procedures’.

They are currently reviewing the entirety of the areas used by the giraffes.

Zuberi was a reticulated giraffe, a subspecies sometimes also called the Somali giraffe

They are predominantly found in central, north and north-eastern Kenya, with small populations in southern Somalia and southern Ethiopia. 

It has been estimated that about 8,700 individuals remain in the wild – down from an approximate 31,000 as recently as 1998. 



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