Giraffe At New Jersey’s Turtle Back Zoo Dies During Medical Procedure

WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An 18-foot tall Masai giraffe at New Jersey’s Turtle Back Zoo has died from complications during a medical procedure.

Hodari arrived at the zoo in Essex County from South Carolina in 2015, and was one of four giraffes that were part of the zoo’s African Adventure.

Officials say the 11-year-old died Wednesday under anesthesia while a veterinarian and dental specialist worked on the giraffe’s teeth to correct a problem that was making it difficult for Hodari to eat.

Dr. Jon Bergmann says they knew there were risks, but they believed the procedure would be beneficial.

“He was a beautiful animal who quickly became a fan favorite when the Giraffe House exhibit opened last year,” the zoo said on its Facebook page. “We will miss him terribly, and we know our fans will as well.”

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. also issued a statement, saying, “The Giraffe Exhibit quickly became Turtle Back Zoo’s most popular attraction, and it was because of Hodari.”

“We cannot express how great this loss is,” he said.

The exact cause of death will be determined by a necropsy.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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