Startled giraffes die after zoo power failure

Three young giraffes died at a Czech zoo, famed for its work on endangered species, as a result of a power cut, the head of the zoo said on Thursday.

”When the power came on again in their enclosure after the power failure, the animals were startled by the lamps. They bolted and suffered fatal injuries when they fell,” explained the director of Dvur Kralove Zoo, Dana Holeckova.

”This is naturally a big loss for our zoo,” she said, adding that police have launched an inquiry into the incident.

The three unfortunate animals were Rothschild’s giraffes, a species native to East Africa but which has been exterminated throughout much of its former range.

The zoo now has only 13 giraffes left, all Rothschild’s, Holeckova said.

The Dvur Kralove Zoo, in the centre of the Czech Republic, is famed for its captive rearing programmes for endangered animals.

Czech electricity producer and distributor CEZ declined to comment on the power cut. ”We are waiting for the results of the police inquiry,” said CEZ spokesperson Sarka Berankova. — Sapa-AFP

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