Chicago An 11-year-old male giraffe at the Brookfield Zoo was found dead Saturday morning, apparently from strangulation, zoo officials said in a statement.
The giraffe, named Dusti, was found caught up in a rope and unresponsive at the zoo's Habitat Africa! The Savannah exhibit in the building's main exhibit space. The giraffe was discovered by one of its zookeepers just before the zoo's opening.
Zoo officials said they were aware of the giraffe's long-reaching capabilities and curiosity, but said they were stunned as to how he was able to reach over his enclosure door, around a 90-degree angle, and across a 6 1/2-foot span to become caught up in the rope, which was fastened with multiple safety clips in order to keep it flush against the wall.
"The Animal Programs staff, especially Dusti's keepers, are devastated. We will be offering keepers the opportunity to talk to a grief counselor to help them through this heartbreaking situation," said Kim Smith, vice president of Animal Programs for the Chicago Zoological Society in the release.