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Baby giraffe dies of broken neck at Zoo Miami

A baby giraffe at a zoo in Florida has died after suffering a broken neck.

The young female was found dead by staff on Saturday morning, said Ron Magill, a spokesman for Zoo Miami.

But it is not clear what led to the animal breaking her neck, as it happened overnight and away from the view of workers at the facility.

Mr Magill said they "can only speculate that something startled the animal and caused it to run into a fence, resulting in the fatal injury".

None of the other giraffes have shown signs of trauma but zoo staff "continue to closely monitor the herd for any indication of stress or abnormal behaviour while searching for any indication of what may have led to this very sad incident", Mr Magill said.

The giraffe was the 60th born at the zoo when she arrived on 15 December, standing just over 5ft tall.

Her parents were 13-year-old Sabra and six-year-old Malcolm.

"This has been a devastating loss, and all procedures are being carefully evaluated to help ensure the prevention of any similar incidents in the future," Mr Magill said.

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Giraffes are native to 21 African countries and the International Union for Conservation of Nature - the gold standard for assessing endangerment - has found they are vulnerable, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Among their threats are poachers - they are poached for their skin, brain and bone marrow - and habitat loss.

Woodlands where they had roamed freely are now being converted to farms and ranches, while Africa's booming charcoal industry is destroying the trees giraffes rely on for sustenance.