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Two Giraffes Killed In “Billion-To-One” Lightning Strike At Florida Wildlife Park

What are the odds?

A Florida wildlife park is mourning two of its residents that died in a freak accident last month.

Two of the giraffes at Lion Country Safari were killed when a lightning bolt struck them during a storm.

“It’s like a billion-to-one chance this happened to us and our poor giraffes, but we are looking at anything we can to improve upon safety for the animals,” safari spokeswoman Haley Passeser said when speaking to NBC News.

A sad tragedy for everyone

“We are deeply saddened to share the passing of two of our giraffe due to a lightning strike,” the park said on Facebook. “Lily and Jioni were in the pasture in their habitat when a severe thunderstorm quickly developed 6 weeks ago.”

“It was absolutely heart-wrenching,” wildlife director for the zoo, Brian Dowling said. “This was just an act of Mother Nature that we couldn’t stop; we couldn’t alter how that came about.

Staff at the park open up shelters when they detect a storm coming in that could pose a threat to inhabitants of the park. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the animals always take advantage of it.

We are deeply saddened to share the passing of two of our giraffe due to a lightning strike. Lily and Jioni were in the…

Posted by Lion Country Safari on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Park employees didn’t know what had happened when they first discovered Lily and Jioni were dead in their habitat.

“Recent pathology results confirm that the giraffe[s] did pass as a result of the lightning and that the manner of their passing was instantaneous,” the Facebook post continued. “The keepers and our whole team were understandably devastated by this sudden and tragic loss; out of respect for their mourning and the pending pathology results, we waited to share this information. We continue to mourn our two incredibly lovely and charismatic giraffe; they will both be sorely missed.”

No one at the park witnessed the lightning strike, so no one is sure if it was two bolts or a single strike that killed the giraffes, according to Passesser.

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