Kipenzi, a baby giraffe that captivated an Internet audience with its live birth at the Dallas Zoo a few months ago, has died.
The calf was scampering around the giraffe habitat Tuesday evening when she ran into the perimeter and broke her neck. The zoo said Kipenzi died instantly.
“This is a huge loss for our giraffe herd, our staff and our guests,” Gregg Hudson, zoo president and CEO, said in a statement. “To be honest, it hurts terribly. We’re crushed, and everyone here is mourning.”
Her mother, Katie, visited Kipenzi before veterinarians and keepers removed her, the zoo said.
“Running is a typical behavior for giraffes of all ages, especially young ones like Kipenzi,” said Harrison Edell, a senior zoo director.
“We’ve been very cautious with where we’ve allowed Kipenzi to roam, as we were with her siblings … when they were small. It’s heartbreaking that this happened where it did despite our precautions.”
Back in April, the hourlong birth was captured by 10 cameras and streamed live by Animal Planet.
“We’re so proud,” the zoo tweeted at the time.
The “Giraffe Birth Live” TV special on Animal Planet drew 1.4 million viewers on April 11, and the live birth saw more than 2 million streams on APL.tv, the zoo said.
While Kipenzi was well-known on the web, she didn’t make her public debut at the zoo’s giraffe yard until May 1.
The zoo says those who wish to remember Kipenzi may want to make a donation to The Giraffe Conservation Fund.