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Young Giraffe Dies In Freak Accident At Miami Zoo

Wesley, a male giraffe, had to be euthanized after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked, and caused an apparent spinal injury, zoo officials said.

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A young male giraffe was euthanized this week at Miami's zoo after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked, and then suffered an apparent spinal injury, officials announced Wednesday.

The giraffe, Wesley, was euthanized Tuesday as a result of the injury, which left him unable to stand and maintain his equilibrium, a spokesman for Zoo Miami, told BuzzFeed News in a statement.

"For several hours, the veterinary team tried a variety of treatments and supportive care," Ron Magill said. "However, after a consistent and dramatic decline in his condition, the difficult decision was made to euthanize him."

The incident occurred when Wesley — who was born in May — returned to a holding area to observe the examination of another giraffe being examined. Wesley was able to squeeze his head between two posts that were separating the exhibit from the holding area, but when he lowered his neck, his head became stuck, Zoo Miami said.

Though staff members were able to dislodge Wesley within a few minutes, by then, the injury had already occurred.

A necropsy was scheduled for Wednesday to determine the official cause of death and what the injury entailed.

It was the second death of a young giraffe at an American zoo in roughly three months. A month-old giraffe dropped dead suddenly in front of VIP onlookers at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in October after running into a fence.

Zoo Miami is making modifications to the giraffe area to prevent similar incidents in the future by closing any gaps, Magill said. The zoo is also reviewing other areas for possible dangers.

Wesley was the 48th giraffe born at Zoo Miami and is the first such death in the zoo’s history, Magill added.

Jason Wells is deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jason Wells at

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