Catoctin Zoo giraffe died of stomach blockage

Rocket, the Catoctin Zoo's only giraffe, was just 4 years old when he died. Photo: YouTube

THURMONT, Md. (WJLA) - The Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo's only giraffe died last week from a growth in its stomach, The Frederick News-Post reports.

Rocket, who died last Tuesday in his sleep, did not show any symptoms until the day before, the zoo's executive director told the News-Post. Staff noticed that he was not eating normally. The next morning, Rocket, who was just 4 years old, was found dead.

The growth caused a fatal blockage from Rocket's stomach to his small intestine.

The young giraffe was no stranger to medical problems. Rocket was born without hair and needed to be bottle fed from birth. And according to the News-Post, Rocket was also born with a turned leg that made walking difficult.

Rocket came to Catoctin in 2011 after a fire at the private zoo where he was born killed his caretaker and several other giraffes.