ATLANTA (AP) — A giraffe has died at an Atlanta zoo after getting its neck caught in a metal railing.
Zoo Atlanta officials announced 8-year-old male giraffe Zuberi died Monday. The animal was in a behind-the-scenes giraffe complex when its neck became wedged in a small space in a metal railing about 7 feet high.
Zoo officials say their Animal Care Team responded immediately, with the Veterinary Team and large-mammal animal care specialists on the scene, but Zuberi died very shortly thereafter.
“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,” said Dr. Hayley Murphy, Vice President of Animal Divisions at Zoo Atlanta.
The zoo's vice president for collections and conservation, Dr. Jennifer Mickelberg, tells news outlets it's "extraordinarily unusual" that Zuberi got stuck in that position. The official cause of his death won't be known until a necropsy is conducted.
The other members of Zuberi's herd don't have access to the enclosure. The giraffes haven't been displayed to the public this year because of construction.
Zoo officials say safety checks are part of Zoo Atlanta’s regular daily procedures, and the Zoo Atlanta teams are thoroughly reviewing the entirety of the areas used by the giraffes.
Born February 13, 2010, at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Zuberi arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 2014.
Officials with Zoo Atlanta say 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."