Young giraffe dies after freak accident at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami photo of Wesley and another giraffe at the zoo.

MIAMI, Fla. (WFLA) — A necropsy will be performed on a young giraffe who was euthanized after a freak accident at Zoo Miami.

Zoo Miami on Wednesday announced the death of “Wesley” who was born at the zoo last May.

The young giraffe had to be euthanized Tuesday after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked, and caused an apparent spinal injury that eventually prevented him from being able to stand and maintain his equilibrium.

The incident occurred at the same time that another giraffe was undergoing a procedure. Wesley went out into the exhibit without a problem and then returned to the holding area, apparently trying to observe what was happening with the giraffe being examined.

He was able to squeeze his head between two posts that were separating the exhibit from the holding area and when he lowered his neck, his head became lodged.

Zoo Miami photo of Wesley and another giraffe at the zoo.
Zoo Miami photo of Wesley and another giraffe at the zoo.

Though the staff was able to dislodge him within a few minutes, Zoo Miami said it was too late to prevent significant injury to the giraffe. For several hours, the veterinary team tried a variety of treatments and supportive care.

“However, after a consistent and dramatic decline in his condition, the difficult decision was made to euthanize him,” said the zoo in a statement.

Zoo officials say a necropsy will be performed on the giraffe on Wednesday that they hope will provide more conclusive details about the actual extent of the injury.

The zoo says all indications were that it was a spinal cord- related trauma.

Wesley was the 48th giraffe born at Zoo Miami. The zoo said that this is the first accident of its kind in the zoo’s history.

The zoo said its staff is making immediate modifications to the area to prevent any such accident from happening again by closing any gaps that would allow an animal to lodge itself in a similar manner.

The zoo said its management team is examining the rest of the zoo to insure that none of the other animals could be exposed to the same danger. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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