Giraffe dies from neck injury at zoo in China after getting stuck in tree

Zookeepers and vets work for five hours to free him from branches but injury suffered in the ordeal proves fatal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 3:53pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 7:00pm

A giraffe in a zoo in southern China has died after getting its neck stuck in a tree.

The 10-year-old male giraffe, Hai Rong, was playing outside at Kunming Zoo, Yunnan province, on Monday afternoon and was rubbing his neck against the tree when he got stuck in a gap between branches, reported Attempts to free him lasted almost five hours, but were in vain.

Described as a “lively character”, Hai had lived at the zoo for five years and was the eldest of its four giraffes. He often played around the tree in his outdoor area, but such an incident had never happened before, the report said. 

Video footage shows about six zookeepers and vets coming to Hai’s rescue. They eventually cut away one of the branches that had trapped him, but he fell to the ground, having suffered severe neck damage. Zoo staff tried unsuccessfully to revive him, the report said.

The zoo plans to preserve the giraffe’s body, according to a report by Spring City Evening News, a local newspaper in Kunming.

It expressed regret about the incident and was conducting an investigation, the report stated. “We will investigate into the dangers of the animals’ cages,” a zoo staff member surnamed Wang was quoted as saying.

A zookeeper is recuperating in hospital after his arm was hit by the giraffe’s neck as it fell, the report added.