Good Question: What happens to animals remains at the zoo?

Good Question: What happens with animal remains at the zoo?

Emily Putnam answers a viewer's Good Question on what happens to animal remains at the zoo, following the death of a giraffe calf.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Last week, the zoo announced that its three-month-old giraffe, Parker Junior, had died from encephalitis. One of you asked us, what happens with animal remains at the zoo? It’s partially kept a secret, and here’s why.

Laurie asks, “What happens to the zoo animal bodies when they die? I know there would be an autopsy, but is the body cremated, or what?”

News10NBC brought Laurie’s question to the experts at the Seneca Park Zoo. Dr. Chris McKinney is the zoo’s veterinarian. He tells us when zoo animals die, some are cremated and others are buried, but all are treated with sensitivity and discretion.

“Because of the nature of our animals, they are endangered species, often times having value on the black market, or poachers want parts of these animals,” explains Dr. McKinney. “To keep poachers away, part of the process is kept a secret. They’re cremated or buried, but it’s always in a location that is kept confidential.”

After Parker Junior died last week, the zoo says his mom, Kipenzi, spent some time with his body so that she would know he had passed.

She was anxious and pacing at first, but the zoo says she appears to be doing much better.