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Giraffe Killed at Little Rock Zoo

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A 13-year-old giraffe was attacked and killed by another giraffe at the Little Rock Zoo.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A 13-year-old giraffe was attacked and killed by another giraffe at the Little Rock Zoo.

According to a press release, Jigsaw had lived at the Zoo since his birth in 2000.

More from the release:

An altercation between Jigsaw and Mesi, a giraffe living at the Zoo since 2006, resulted in Jigsaw's death. Jigsaw was found in the giraffe barn lying on the ground with his head down early Sunday morning. Staff then notified Zoo veterinary staff who immediately responded. Jigsaw passed not long after as a result of the altercation with Mesi, according to Zoo veterinary staff.

Jigsaw's body was taken to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission State Laboratory for necropsy. Results of that necropsy are pending.

An initial investigation into the incident reveals that Mesi was able to open a large metal dividing gate separating the two giraffes inside the giraffe barn sometime between the evening of Saturday, December 28 and the morning of Sunday, December 29. Mesi entered Jigsaw's stall and sparred with him until Jigsaw fell to the ground.

Jigsaw was affectionately called "BJ" or "Barney Junior" by Zoo staff in honor of his father Barney, a giraffe living at the Zoo from 1997-2006. BJ was born with a rare blood disease known as Babesiosis, a rare blood-borne infection, and was hand-raised by staff the first months of his life. BJ had struggled with many health issues over the 13 years of his life but was in generally good health when the incident occurred.

"To say this is a sad day is an understatement and doesn't grasp the full magnitude of this loss to the Zoo family," said Zoo Director Mike Blakely.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Zoo's General Curator and steps have already been taken to improve the safety of the dividing gate inside the giraffe barn. Zoo veterinary staff report that Mesi is in good health and did not receive major injuries as a result of the incident.

The Little Rock Zoo is in discussion with the Species Survival Plan for giraffes to determine a course of action for its giraffe program. Mesi will continue to be housed at the Zoo indefinitely.

(story by KNWA, Fayetteville, Ark)

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