PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Friday, June 21 marks World Giraffe Day, a time to focus on the conservation of giraffes. But this yr, the day takes on a brand new which means at Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County after the park lost giraffes to a lightning strike ultimate month.
The loss of 1-12 months-vintage Jioni (pictured below) and 10-12 months-old Lily impacted people throughout our network and the sector. In truth, a local summer season camp sent cards and pictures to the Lion Country Safari team of workers individuals to express their condolences. But no person felt an extra loss than the keepers who spend each day with those beautiful animals.
WPTV got special get right of entry to at the back of the scenes with the giraffe keepers at Lion Country Safari to peer how they interact with the animals. For keeper Kimberly Good, the giraffes are her own family.
“They’re a form of like my brothers and sisters,” Good said. “And maybe I think about Pamela as my mother. She is the only one who watches out for everyone. She makes sure all and sundry stays safe. She will be able to permit calves to nurse from her at an extremely unusual time. She’s extraordinarily nurturing and loving but reserved additionally, so I’m off the path very keen on her. But sure, some of them are a bit sassy, some of them could be pushy. I don’t want to say troublemakers. However, the boys normally like to get into a bit mischief right here and there.”
Good start every day setting up food for the giraffes within the open hold, including hay and browse, which can be leaves. Then it’s over to the chute, wherein Good can test the giraffes out and let them out of the nighttime pen and into the open maintain where they are a part of the power-via safari. The chute additionally permits keepers to look at the giraffes to peer if they need unique clinical interest or education. “They make the picks here, so we paintings for them,” Good stated. “There’s plenty of endurance involved in this habitual because occasionally they don’t need to do what you want them to do.”
After seven years with these giraffes, Good is aware of their workouts, personalities, quirks and that even the slightest aspect out of location can spook them.
“There may be a cap of something at the platform, and we might not determine it out till they may be searching at something, or if there may be a stick within the chute, they won’t bypass it,” Good said. “They’re a first-rate alert machine due to the fact they’ll see something we can’t see, so I’ll know just using wherein they’re trying to force there. And sure enough, it can be a fowl or small alligator or something, and all of them noticed it before I did.”
When a violent storm moved in quickly closing month, she knew it wasn’t precise. So she became in her truck on the point of leave for the day.
“I remember that flash of light, and I recollect I ducked within the automobile as it seemed so, oh my God,” Good stated. “Then I felt it. If you were here, you could sense it. You felt that earth circulate, and the feeling comes over you like, oh my God, and I consider pausing, not knowing why.”
Good-headed domestic, but not for long. That’s while the telephone rang. “I recognize when my curator calls me this isn’t properly. She instructed me, and I didn’t do well. I broke. I don’t even do not forget using again here. However, I drove returned here, and they were quite a good deal had been I ultimately noticed them,” Good stated.
That day, the park lost Jioni and Lily. “It becomes the shock,” Good stated. “I just saw them. I just saw them and I couldn’t… I’m older, and I’ve visible some things. That turned into the worst day of my life. I broke down; I did ruin down. I’m very emotional, and I’m very connected.”