ASHEBORO, N.C. (NC ZOO)–– The North Carolina Zoo is heartbroken to announce the untimely death of Fenn, the beloved six-month-old giraffe calf, whose birth and presence at the Zoo delighted individuals around the world. A grief counselor has been brought in to support staff members as they navigate the emotions associated with this tragic loss.
Fenn was nursing when he became unexpectedly startled by another giraffe. He bolted, colliding with a nearby gate and falling to the ground. Unfortunately, Fenn sustained head and neck trauma from the fall and passed away late evening Dec. 13 despite receiving rapid medical intervention from veterinary staff.
Fenn was born at the North Carolina Zoo on May 20, 2023, to a first-time mother, Leia (14), and father, Jack (15). He entered the world as a beacon of hope, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 145 pounds. Fans of the North Carolina Zoo welcomed his arrival and helped name Fenn in a public poll that garnered more than 100,000 votes.
Fenn was an energetic and vibrant addition to the giraffe herd (or tower) and quickly became a cherished member of the Zoo community. His playful antics and charming nature endeared him to staff and visitors alike. He will be remembered with fondness and love by all who knew him.
The North Carolina Zoo family is shocked and devastated by Fenn’s tragic death. The Zoo would like to express gratitude for the outpouring of support during this incredibly challenging time. Staff members, particularly the caretakers who formed a special bond with him since his birth, ask for respect and privacy during their time of grief.