What to Know
- Lily and Jioni, two giraffes at the Safari, were fatally struck by lightning on May 3.
- They were two of 20 giraffes that lived on the grounds. There are now 18.
Severe thunderstorms caused power outages and traffic jams throughout the area, but at Lion Country Safari, the thunderstorms left broken hearts.
Lily and Jioni, two giraffes at the Safari, were fatally struck by lightning on May 3, park officials announced Tuesday.
Recent pathology reports released by the zoo showed that both giraffes died instantly.
Lily, 10, and Jioni, 1, were two of 20 giraffes that lived on the grounds. There are now 18.
Park officials said in a statement that both giraffes were in the middle of the pasture when the lighting struck, the quick and severe weather left officials without much warning.
Haley Passeser, a spokesperson for Lion Country Safari told WPTV that the zoo has lightning detection systems which open animal shelter areas when storms near. This standard protocol was followed in this case.
"For them it is more safe and more comfortable for them to be out in the open environment and understand what is going on around them," Passeser said.
The tragic loss left Lion Country Safari reviewing animal safety policies and procedures. They have been in contact with other experts throughout the state.
Park officials announced that they delayed the announcement out of respect for their mourning and for the animals lost. Some members of the team took time off to process.
"It was just very tragic, natural effect, natural accident, and it was very devastating to our staff and we are still mourning from it," Passeser said.