Then, in October, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo (FCZ) in California announced a similar tragedy involving a fence, which resulted in the death of another baby giraffe.
"It's the same type of barrier that we've had for over a decade, and it's never been an issue," FCZ media specialist Ciera Norton told The Dodo in a phone interview in the days following the incident.
That baby giraffe was only 1 month old.
Animal lovers have spoken out in response to the series of deaths.
"We must remember that these are wild animals, with responses and behavior adapted to life in the wild," Chris Draper, program manager for the Born Free Foundation, wrote in an email to The Dodo. He continues:
A restricted zoo environment, coupled with all the everyday trappings - fences, support posts, doors, ramps and so on - necessary to keep animals in captivity, is entirely at odds with the expansive natural environment and life of wide-ranging animals such as giraffes.
Of course, life in the wild is not without risk, from predators, disease and so on, and it is undeniable that accidents may also occur in the wild. However, keeping animals safe from harm is a stated objective of zoos and one might expect responsible zoos to work hard to design enclosures that come closer to meeting the needs of the animals and that present negligible risk to their inhabitants.
Following Wesley's death, the Zoo Miami welded a bar where the injury occurred to protect the remaining giraffes, who will likely remain in the zoo through the rest of their lives as well.
The Born Free Foundation believes that wildlife belongs in the wild. If you'd like to learn more about their efforts to protect wild animals and the places they call home, you can visit their website.