Kipenzi: Giraffe whose birth was broadcast live to three million people dies after breaking neck at Dallas Zoo

Dallas Zoo said it was 'devastated'

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The Independent US

A baby giraffe who became an internet sensation after her birth was live streamed has died in an accident at Dallas Zoo.

Kipenzi was just three months old when she died of a broken neck vertebrae after she made a sharp turn in the giraffe enclosure at the zoo in Texas, and ran into a perimeter edge. Zoo keepers were moving the herd into their night barn as part of the animals’ routine, the facility said in a statement.

Kipenzi, whose name means "loved one" in Swahili, died of her injuries immediately, staff said.

Her mother, Katie, was allowed to visit the calf's body before vets and zoo keepers removed it.

Dallas Zoo wrote in a statement on their Facebook page that staff were “heartbroken” by the calf’s untimely death.

HEARTBROKEN: We are devastated to share the tragic loss of our beloved giraffe calf, Kipenzi. This evening as the...

Posted by Dallas Zoo on Tuesday, 28 July 2015

“We are devastated to share the tragic loss of our beloved giraffe calf, Kipenzi.

“While she was only here for a few months, Kipenzi was a beacon of light for her species and for the millions who watched her birth live on Animal Planet.”

“Kipenzi will always remain in our hearts, and while tears are flowing freely here tonight, we are eternally grateful for the millions of smiles she gave us all.

Facebook fans replied to the statement with thousands of condolence messages.

"My heart is broken. Keep your heads up Dallas Zoo, she brought a purpose to the Zoo with her coming into the world, people began to appreciate the Animals. I can not even phantom your pain. I hope that Katie will survive this tragedy also," wrote Rebecca Gaydos Karlik.

Some three million people across the world watched Kipenzi’s birth on a livestream hosted by Animal Planet, and helped the zoo raise more than $35,000 (£22,500) for giraffe conservation in Africa.

The zoo has encouraged those who met Kipenzi to share photos of her Facebook and Instagram, and to donate to The Giraffe Conservation Foundation.