Jazz the orphaned baby giraffe took the Internet by storm a few weeks ago when a dog befriended him.
However, the South African animal orphanage where the baby giraffe was being cared for reported that Jazz had died. “Our team is heartbroken,” the orphanage said.
Watch the interaction between the giraffe and the dog below.
Video credit: Rumble
The Rhino Orphanage announced in a Facebook post that Jazz had collapsed due to a hemorrhage in the brain. “The last two days before we lost him, Jazz started looking unstable on his legs and very dull, almost like he wasn’t registering everything,” it said. “He suddenly collapsed and we could see blood starting to pool back into his eyes.”
Jazz’s friend Hunter, the dog who befriended him, seemed to sense something was wrong and refused to leave the baby giraffe’s side and was there when Jazz finally died. In fact, the dog kept sitting in front of the empty room for hours before going back to its carers “for comfort.”
However, Arrie van Deventer, the orphanage’s founder, told The Associated Press that although Jazz’s death still stung, it was not totally unexpected. There was a reason the mother giraffe abandoned Jazz.
“So we finally know that Jazz didn’t have a bad giraffe mother that left him,” the orphanage’s statement said. “She just knew. … But we still have to try every single time (to help) no matter how hard it is.”
A farmer found a weak and dehydrated Jazz out in the wild and requested help from the center. The baby giraffe had been in the orphanage for a few weeks, since a few days after its birth, before it died.
Over that time, the orphanage shared pictures of Jazz snoozing with his canine friend and walking outdoors together.
A final photo featured Hunter just waiting in front of the room where Jazz had stayed, a post that had hundreds of people also pouring out their sadness at the giraffe’s passing and also expressing concern about how Hunter would cope with the loss of his friend.
Caretaker Janie Van Heerden said that the two animals had bonded immediately.
In a tribute to Hunter’s loyalty, the orphanage said, “He stayed till the end and said his goodbyes. Such a good boy.” The post also assured everyone that Hunter was doing well and that he was still training to be a tracking dog.
The orphanage’s farewell to Jazz said: “You have taught us so much in the last three weeks and we will remember you fondly.”
According to van Deventer, the giraffe was buried near the orphanage.
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