After a lunch of fresh fruits and green fodder, Mangal Pandey was frolicking in the sun. Minutes later, the playful three-year 10-month-old giraffe was in the throes of death, his neck caught in the Y-shaped trunk of a tree next to the enclosure wall at the Delhi zoo.
Mangal Pandey — his nickname because he was never named officially — stuck his neck through the Y-shaped trunk to pull some twigs from a tree next to the wall.
The young giraffe — they normally have a life span of 25 years — tried to wriggle out but the struggle made the situation worse, his twisting and stretching neck injuring itself while he tried to save himself.
Mangal's desperate attempts were noticed by a visitor who alerted the zoo authorities, who rushed to rescue the animal, even taking the risk of cutting off the Y-shaped branch where his neck was stuck. But it proved too late.
"The giraffe finally died a painful death after struggling for about 35-40 minutes," said Riaz Khan, the zoo's curator (education).
This is a major blow to the Delhi zoo, coming just three months after more than a dozen black bucks died of contaminated water. With Mangal's death, the zoo is now left with one male (2008 born) and two female giraffes.