Lufkin zoo giraffe dies suddenly

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Morgan Thomas - email

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Employees of the Ellen Trout Zoo are investigating the death of an 18-month-old giraffe.

"We got a report about an issue with a giraffe. Staff got there really quickly. The animal was down - it expired. At this point we really don't know what happened," said Celia Falzone, general curator at the Zoo.

"Everybody did what they could," said Falzone.

According to Falzone, zoo staff members learned "Slim" had collapsed in the habitat Sunday morning. Staff members responded immediately, but moments later he died.

"The keepers pour their heart and souls into these animals and to lose any of them is devastating," said Falzone.

The death of this young giraffe hit especially hard since he was born at the zoo.

"They were there through all his growth, he had grown into a nice, big animal and everything looked really good," said Falzone.

Falzone said a necropsy has been ordered to determine a cause of death. She would not say whether any spectators saw him collapse, but there were visitors at the zoo during the incident.

Sadly, this isn't the first time the zoo has gone through this. Just 13 months ago a two-year-old giraffe died.

"We didn't get any definitive answers to that one. That can happen sometimes," said Falzone.

They hope they get answers with 'Slim'.

"If there is something we can do that would prevent this from happening in the future that's what we're going to do," said Falzone.

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