Two giraffes killed by ‘billion-to-one’ lightning strike at wildlife park

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

TAMPA (WFLA) – Two giraffes were fatally struck by lightning during a “billion-to-one” tragedy at a Florida wildlife park.

According to NBC News, the incident happened on May 3, killing 10-year-old female Lily and year-old male Jioni, according to Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, about 20 miles west of West Palm Beach. 

We are deeply saddened to share the passing of two of our giraffe due to a lightning strike. Lily and Jioni were in the…

Posted by Lion Country Safari on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

“Recent pathology results confirm that the giraffes did pass as a result of the lightning and that the manner of their passing was instantaneous,” the park said Tuesday in a statement.

There are “numerous shelters in the multi-acre habitat, if they choose to use them.” But, the park says, there is no way to force any of the then-20, now 18, giraffes to use them during a severe storm.

“It’s like a billion-to-one chance this happened to us and our poor giraffes, but we are looking at anything we can to improve upon” safeguards for the animals, Passeser told NBC News.

“The keepers and our whole team were understandably devastated by this sudden and tragic loss; out of respect for their mourning and the pending pathology results, we waited to share this information,” according to the Lion Country Safari statement.

“We continue to mourn our two incredibly lovely and charismatic giraffe; they will both be sorely missed.”


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