Two giraffes killed by lightning strike at Lion Country Safari

Sydney McDonald, 2, feeds the giraffes at the Miami Metrozoo on Friday, July 30, 2010. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Lion Country Safari confirms two giraffes are dead.

They were killed by a lightning bolt about six weeks ago.

Officials say the giraffes a 1-year-old male and 10-year-old female were in the middle of the park’s pasture when they were struck by lightning.

The 1-year-old giraffe Jioni and 10-year-old Lily were not related, park officials said.

“The whole team here was devastated, and we’re still in the mourning process weeks later,” said Haley Passeser, a spokesperson for Lion Country Safari. “There were a lot of tears shed. Some of our keepers had to take some personal time off to process.”

Lion Country Safari followed standard protocol during the storm by opening up the animal shelter area after the park’s lightning detection system went off, according to Passeser.

However, it is up to the animals themselves whether they want to seek shelter or stay out in the open, Passeser added.

Lion Country Safari is now reviewing its policies and procedures and has been in contact with other experts throughout the state of Florida.

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