Baby giraffe dies during VIP event at California zoo: Paper

A baby giraffe whose birth at a California zoo was heralded in the region died on Sunday during a special VIP opening of a new exhibit.
A baby giraffe whose birth at a California zoo was heralded in the region died on Sunday during a special VIP opening of a new exhibit.PHOTO: FRESNO CHAFFEE ZOO/FACEBOOK

SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A baby giraffe whose birth at a central California zoo was heralded in the region died on Sunday (Oct 11) during a special VIP opening of a new exhibit housing animals native to Africa, the Fresno Bee newspaper reported.

The young male reticulated giraffe appeared to have been in a physical accident at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, the newspaper said on Monday (Oct 12), quoting zoo spokesman Alisha Anderson.

Zoo supporters on hand to witness a preview of the facility's new African Adventure exhibit saw the baby animal lying on the ground, the newspaper said.

"Guests were really upset," Ms Anderson told the newspaper."Our staff is devastated."

The baby giraffe was born on Sept 9 at 188 pounds (85 kg). It was the first animal born at the new exhibit, the newspaper said.

Ms Anderson told the newspaper that officials do not yet know exactly what caused the baby's death, and that a necropsy will be performed to find out.

On Monday, the zoo's website was still advertising a special preview of the African Adventure exhibit set for that night. The website noted that giraffe feeding was temporarily unavailable because the zoo's giraffe's had moved to their new location at the exhibit.

The zoo did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.