6-year-old giraffe dies after getting caught in enclosure gate

Picture shows Parker, the Zoo’s 6-year-old male Masai giraffe. (Photo Courtesy, Seneca Park Zoo)

A giraffe died in a tragic accident at an upstate zoo.

On Monday the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester announced the death of Parker, a 6-year-old Masai giraffe. Zoo officials say the staff found Parker caught in an enclosure gate. 

"The possibility of this kind of event happening was unforeseen and unprecedented," said Zoo Superintendent Steve Lacy in a statement.

The gate structure in the Savanna area of the zoo where the giraffes are located was installed in 2018.  Zoo officials say it is used in a number of accredited zoos around the country.

 There have been no reports of incidents like this anywhere else. The manufacturer has been notified of the tragedy and the potential risk the enclosure may pose to animals elsewhere.

 The zoo is also working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Association of Zoos with regard to the tragedy and the remodeling of the gate structure. 

Giraffes are shown in their enclosure at the Seneca Park Zoo. (Photo Courtesy, Seneca Park Zoo)

"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," said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Seneca Zoo encourages the public to commemorate Parker's life by sharing pictures and memories on the Zoo's social media pages. The Zoo Society will is also hosting a Facebook fundraiser with all contributions going to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.