LAKE BUENA VISTA - Lightning struck and killed a giraffe at Disney's Animal
Kingdom theme park, company officials said Wednesday.
The accident occurred Monday afternoon as a severe lightning storm moved
over the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction, where Betsy the giraffe roamed as
visitors passed through, Disney spokeswoman Diane Ledder said.
A necropsy confirmed that the 6-year-old female giraffe was killed by
lightning, Ledder said.
"To the best of my knowledge, it was a quick death," she said. It was
unclear if any tourists saw the lighting strike.
Betsy was the first animal to die from a lightning strike at the central
Florida theme park, she said.
"It's very unfortunate and unusual ... but it has happened in the past" at
other U.S. parks, Ledder said.
The park has lightning rods placed throughout the safari area to protect
animals, she said. Animals can also be brought inside during severe weather,
but the lightning storm came through with too little warning, she said.