THURMONT, Md. (AP) — A young giraffe has died at a western Maryland zoo.

The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo says 4-year-old Rocket, the zoo’s only giraffe, died Tuesday night in his sleep.

The Frederick News-Post reports that the cause of death has not been confirmed, but a necropsy is planned. Healthy giraffes typically live up to 25 years in the wild and longer in captivity.

Rocket was brought to the zoo after a fire at the private zoo where he was born killed other giraffes and their caretaker. His stay was initially on a temporary basis because the zoo didn’t have the heating needed for winter, but zoo staff raised money to keep him permanently.

The zoo plans to exhibit giraffes again, once staff and member have time to grieve.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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