Giraffes killed by lightning at Lion Country Safari

Both giraffes died instantly, park spokeswoman says

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Courtesy of Lauren Burke

Andrew Burke, 4, is held up by his father, Peter Burke, as he feeds a giraffe lettuce during a visit to Lion Country Safari, April 27, 2019, in Loxahatchee, Florida.

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - Two giraffes were killed by lightning at Lion Country Safari, a park spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

The giraffes were killed May 3 during a "severe, fast-moving storm" at the Loxahatchee park, spokeswoman Haley Passeser said in a statement.

Lily, 10, and Jioni, 1, were found dead by staff members, Passeser said. Both giraffes died instantly.

Courtesy of Lion Country Safari

This is the most recent picture of Jioni, one of two giraffes killed by lightning at Lion Country Safari.

"In an effort to maintain naturalistic habitats featuring wide-open spaces similar to the savannah, giraffe(s) are not normally confined to covered pastures or pens," the statement said. "Staff and animal safety are of the utmost importance and while this is a tragic and aberrant incident, the park is continually reviewing safety and crisis protocols."

Lion Country Safari is South Florida's only drive-through zoo.

There are now 18 remaining giraffes at the park.

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