This breaks my heart!!! I watched her birth on Animal Planet!!!
Baby giraffe dies in accident at Dallas Zoo
Jenny Doren, WFAA 1:28 p.m. CDT July 29, 2015
"We're crushed, and everyone here is in mourning"
Kipenzi(Photo: Dallas Zoo)
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DALLAS — Animal lovers worldwide and here in North Texas are now saying goodbye to Dallas' beloved gentle giant and Internet superstar. Zoo staff say Kipenzi was horsing around with her older brother when tragedy struck around 5:30 Tuesday evening. Keepers were routinely shifting the giraffe herd into their night barn when the gangly calf started scampering. Kipenzi made a sharp turn and ran into the edge of the giraffe habitat breaking her neck. She died instantly.
Baby giraffe dies at Dallas Zoo
MORE: Stories about Kipenzi
"It was just a tragedy and hopefully they'll be able to have another [giraffe]," said Belinda Aldrete, who brought her granddaughter to the Dallas Zoo Wednesday.
"We've just been watching every minute of Kipenzi's life," added Jenina Smith of Irving. "All the videos of her running and out with her family and so it's just really, really sad."
Her family, like so many other visitors at the Dallas Zoo, came with with condolences and heavy hearts, hours after Kipenzi's freak accident.
"You think about your own babies and letting them explore and as they meet every milestone," explained Smith. "Makes you sad," she added. "You think life is just so precious and you just never know." She joined more than two million others who watched history happen back in April when Kipenzi's birth streamed live online via Animal Planet. The network released a statement following Kipenzi's death:
"Like our friends and fellow animal lovers at the Dallas Zoo and around the world, we are completely heartbroken after learning of the tragic death of Kipenzi, the giraffe born on Animal Planet. The 24x7 coverage we offered of Katie's pregnancy and Kipenzi's birth was one of the most exciting and beautiful projects we have undertaken in our network's history. In her short time, Kipenzi provided an intensely powerful reminder of the miracle of birth and the beauty of the natural world. This extremely sad news underscores nature's fragility. Our sincerest sympathy goes out to all of our partners in Texas and to everyone with whom we shared Kipenzi's momentous arrival earlier this year.""It's difficult to put into words," explained Harrison Edell while clearing his throat. He's the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo.
Cribbs just graduated from North Dakota State University with a Zoology degree. "I used to volunteer at another zoo and a similar situation happened where an animal passed away so it really hit home for me," she said.
Kipenzi's mom is also in the process of bouncing back. Zookeepers gave her time to visit with her baby before they took her away. They're now keeping Katie in a private yard so they can make sure she doesn't show any signs of distress.
"It's sad," said Cribbs. "Same thing happens to animals as do humans. Accidents happen. Illnesses happen."
Kipenzi came into the world as a viral star. She died once again trending on social media.
Zookeepers expect a memorial will begin to grow. They suggest in lieu of gifts, perhaps donating in Kipenzi's memory. The Dallas Zoo recommends The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, its partner at the forefront of protecting giraffes in Africa.
Click here to make a donation.