Young Giraffe Dies in ‘Freak Accident' at Zoo Miami: Officials

A baby giraffe has died following what officials are calling a freak accident at Zoo Miami, according to zoo communications director Ron Magill.

"Wesley," who was born last May, had to be euthanized Tuesday after he lodged his head between two posts, panicked and caused a spinal injury that prevented him from being able to stand or maintain his equilibrium.

Zoo Miami Wesley Giraffe 2
Zoo Miami
Wesley, a 7-month-old giraffe at Zoo Miami, was euthanized Jan. 5, 2016 after suffering a debilitating spinal injury in a freak accident.

Officials said another giraffe was undergoing a procedure, and Wesley was likely trying to observe what was going on. He squeezed his head between two posts that separated the exhibit area from the holding area, and when he lowered his neck, his head got stuck.

Staff members were able to dislodge him, but it was unfortunately too late to prevent the debilitating injury.

In a statement, Magill said Zoo Miami veterinary teams tried a variety of treatments, but Wesley's condition continued to deteriorate, forcing them to make the difficult decision to euthanize him.

A necropsy will be performed on the giraffe Wednesday to provide more conclusive details regarding the injury. According to veterinary teams, the giraffe appears to have died as the result of spinal cord-related trauma.

Wesley was the 48th giraffe born at Zoo Miami. Officials said this is the first accident of its kind in Zoo Miami's history.

Teams are taking preventative measures by examining holding areas throughout the zoo in an effort to prevent any future accidents.

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