Horror as giraffe breaks its own neck after getting stuck in zoo gate

A beloved giraffe has died after breaking his neck in an enclosure at a zoo in New York.

Six-year-old Parker, described as "a joy" to visitors, was tragically found dead at Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester on Sunday morning (February 12) after breaking his neck on a gate attached to the enclosure.

Vets descended on the scene as soon as they were notified of the incident and tried to save Parker's life, but they were unable to revive him.

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Questions are now being asked over the safety of the gate installed on the premises.

Superintendent Steve Lacy said the gate was installed in 2018 and it was a "standard giraffe enclosure feature" used nationwide.

"The possibility of this kind of event happening was unforeseen and unprecedented," he said.

Officials said Parker was "in excellent health" prior to the accident and had fathered baby giraffe Olmsted last April.

Seneca Park Zoo Veterinarian Chris McKinney said: "Parker will be sorely missed by all. He had been in excellent health prior to this and was a joy to both staff and visitors.

"Our priority is the health and well-being of our animals and any major event can certainly affect them.

"So far, all three giraffes, Iggy, Kipenzie, and Olmsted, are doing well. We will continue to monitor them closely in the coming days."

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An autopsy on the mammal confirmed Parker died from a broken neck.

McKinney told News10NBC: “On review it appears from the nature of the fracture, and what we can see that death was almost instantaneous.

"As soon as he was stuck, he tried to extricate himself, that fracture would have been instant."

Zoo officials said they have contacted the company which manufacturers the gate about the incident, though it is thought the death was a freak accident, rather than a safety flaw in the design.

Nonetheless, the zoo said the structure will be modified to try and prevent such an incident from happening again.

Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said: "Our hearts go out to the Seneca Park community and all the dedicated professionals at Seneca Park Zoo with the news of the death of their giraffe Parker."

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