Zoo staff mourns loss of giraffe calf

Submitted Photo Jabari, a giraffe calf born in August 2023, and his mother, Kiangia, are shown at Minot’s Roosevelt Park Zoo.

Jabari, a giraffe calf at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, has died.

Upon arriving at the giraffe barn on Saturday morning, the area zookeeper discovered Jabari’s death.

A necropsy was performed. Jabari had squeezed his head around the end of the cover on the giraffes’ hay feeder far enough that his ossicones became hooked on the cover as he tried to pull back. In his panicked state to escape the feeder, he broke his neck, causing his death.

Staff, shaken by his death, immediately began looking at ways to prevent something like this from happening again.

Jabari was born at the zoo on Aug. 7, 2023. He was the last calf sired by Mashama and born nearly 11 months after Mashama had to be euthanized. The average gestation for giraffes is 15 months. Jabari was almost 9 months old at the time of his death. Most of that time was spent with his mother, Kianga, and older sister Amani. Much of his life was spent safely inside of their barn over this past winter.

The addition of the new African Plains Building, currently under construction, will make it so giraffes like Jabari, born in late summer or early fall, will have a place to run, play and delight zoo visitors year-round.

“I read stories throughout the year about other zoos that have gone through this same feeling for those staffs. Today it is our young staff feeling the loss and my heart pains even more for each of them,” said Jeff Bullock, zoo director.


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