A Giraffe named Parker was found unresponsive at a New York zoo on Sunday after employees say he got his neck caught in his enclosure and fractured it.
The 6-year-old Masai giraffe was found inside the Animals of the Savanna Building at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, the Democrat and Chronicle reports, with veterinary personnel unable to save the animal.
“The possibility of this kind of event happening was unforeseen and unprecedented,” zoo Superintendent Steve Lacy said in a statement. “The gate structure, installed in 2018, is a standard giraffe enclosure feature and is used in a number of accredited zoos around the country,” he added.
While Parker was trapped he reportedly tried to wriggle himself out and fractured his neck in the process. The Seneca Park Zoo said the gate’s manufacturer was notified and reaffirmed that this was an unprecedented incident that has never occurred before at any other zoo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were also notified.
“It’s been a difficult 24 hours,” Lacey said in tears during a press conference covered by 13WHAM ABC News. He noted the zoo would modify the gate to prevent another tragedy of this nature.
Parker arrived in Rochester from the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2018 and was residing with female Masai giraffes Kipenzi and Iggy, per the Democrat and Chronicle. He and Iggy were parents to Olmsted, nicknamed Olmy, who was born on April 29.
“This is a tragedy for the Seneca Park Zoo community, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said in a statement. “From the staff who cared for and loved Parker, to the Zoo guests and members who had their visits brightened by Parker’s presence, we are all grieving this tremendous loss.”