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The final results have been released for an investigation into the deaths of two giraffes at BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo.
An inspection conducted by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) found no wrongdoing or negligence linked to the deaths of the two animals. Zoo director Phil Frost hopes the report will reassure the public that the well-being of all animals is a top priority for zoo staff.
"I certainly hope that with a report like this people will realize that indeed we have the animals' welfare at the very front of everything we do," Frost said. "Our staff safety is number one, animal welfare is number two and everything we do we keep that in mind."
Zoo officials first contacted the AZA to conduct the independent on-site investigation after the two "elderly" giraffes, Mopani and Hope, died on March 19.
"After careful review of a number of cascading circumstances that resulted in the death of two adult female giraffes, it is my professional opinion that the Baton Rouge Zoo staff responded as an experienced and knowledgeable team faced with a challenging circumstance for the Baton Rouge Zoo's giraffe herd of four animals," noted the report.
The zoo was also commend in the report for its long-term care of the giraffes "that resulted in their longevity."
"Their difficult decision to humanely alleviate the suffering of Mopani and Hope was a sound professional decision, in line with standard animal welfare practice," concludes the report. "In my investigation, I found no fault with the difficult decisions that were made under a set of unfortunate circumstances that resulted in the death of two geriatric female giraffes."
"We were very pleased to hear our peers echo what we have believed all along," Frost said. "We provide the best care possible to all of our animals, every day, using the same animal welfare standards and practices that are used at all 230 accredited zoos and aquariums across the country. Hope and Mopani were treated no different, and while it was a very hard loss for all of us, I remain extremely proud of our staff for the quality of care they were able to provide for both of them."