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  1. ITV Report

Two giraffes killed after 'billion-to-one' lightning strike in Florida

The safari park said it was 'deeply saddened to share the passing of two of our giraffe due to a lightning strike'. Credit: Lion Country Safari/Facebook

Two giraffes have been killed after being struck by lightning in what has been described as a "billion-to-one" tragedy in Florida.

The pair of long-necked mammals, 10-year-old female Lily and one-year-old male Jioni, died instantly in the strike, say Lion Country Safari.

Lily was between 14 feet to 16 feet tall and Jioni was between 10 feet and 12 feet, Lion Country Safari spokeswoman Haley Passeser told NBC.

She added: "It's like a billion-to-one chance this happened to us and our poor giraffes, but we are looking at anything we can to improve upon."

It has been reported that no one at the park witnessed the strike and it is not clear whether one strike killed the pair or two.

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The safari park is described as a drive-thru and while the animals have "numerous shelters", the park says there is no way to force them to use them in storms.

A Facebook post by the park revealed the giraffes were "in the pasture in their habitat when a severe thunderstorm quickly developed 6 weeks ago".

It added: "The keepers and our whole team were understandably devastated by this sudden and tragic loss; out of respect for their mourning and the pending pathology results, we waited to share this information.

"We continue to mourn our two incredibly lovely and charismatic giraffe; they will both be sorely missed."

Giraffes tend to live for around 25 years, however in captivity the lifespan can be much shorter.