2 giraffes killed by lightning strike at Lion Country Safari

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. (WSVN) — A local animal park is mourning the deaths of two giraffes killed during a storm several weeks ago.

Lion Country Safari park officials said 1-year-old Jioni and 10-year-old Lily were killed in a storm six weeks ago.

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

Passer said the park has a lightning detection system, and when the storm started to approach, they opened up the animal shelter area as a part of protocol. However, it is left up to the animals themselves if they want to seek out shelter or stay out in the open.

“We do try to provide them a lot of choice,” Passeser said, “and in a case such as that – when we ourselves are also seeking shelter – if they don’t chose to seek shelter, there isn’t a lot we can do to encourage them to.”

The two giraffes were in the pasture when they were hit.

“For them, it is more safe and more comfortable for them to be out in the open environment and understand what’s going on around them,” said Passeser.

WPTV reports that the park is now reviewing its policies and procedures and has been in contact with other experts across the state.

The park noted they currently have 18 giraffes on its property.

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