Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley Zoo giraffe dies from neck injury

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. - A young giraffe, recently brought to the Lehigh Valley Zoo to be reunited with his father, has died.

Ernie, the six-year-old Masai giraffe, arrived at the Schnecksville facility Friday.

Zoo officials said Ernie became aggressive toward his father Murphy, who arrived at the zoo earlier this week.

Zoo keepers separated the giraffes and worked on a slow reintroduction plan.

Keepers said they brought the giraffes together yesterday and Ernie became aggressive again.

Officials said Ernie injured his neck during the incident and died around 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

Zoo officials said the Lehigh Valley Zoo will work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to perform a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances of Ernie's death.

"On behalf of all the staff at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, we are having the most difficult time finding the words to convey how heart broken we are and we hope you will join us as we mourn the loss of Ernie," President and CEO of the Zoo Melissa Borland said in statement.

Borland said Murphy is healthy.

Murphy and Ernie came from a zoo in Kansas City. They were both expected to be part of a new Africa-based exhibit.

The grand opening celebration was expected to take place in mid-June.

There's still no word if the exhibit will open on time.

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