Abandoned baby giraffe in South Africa, who pics went viral after befriending dog, dies

A baby giraffe that became unlikely best friends with a dog after being abandoned in the wild has died, the “heartbroken” South African animal orphanage announced Friday on Facebook.

Jazz collapsed on Thursday at the Rhino Orphanage from hyphema coupled with brain hemorrhaging due to either a genetic defect or an under-developed valve system, the orphanage said.

“He couldn’t regulate blood pressure to his brain and therefore bleeding between the ventricles occurred,” the orphanage wrote. “All our efforts were in vain.”

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In this Friday Nov 22, 2019 file photo, Hunter, a young Belgian Malinois, keeps an eye on Jazz, a nine-day-old giraffe at the Rhino orphanage in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Jazz, who was brought in after being abandoned by his mother at birth, died of brain hemorrhaging and hyphema it was announced Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

In this Friday Nov 22, 2019 file photo, Hunter, a young Belgian Malinois, keeps an eye on Jazz, a nine-day-old giraffe at the Rhino orphanage in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Jazz, who was brought in after being abandoned by his mother at birth, died of brain hemorrhaging and hyphema it was announced Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

When he arrived at the orphanage at just 3 days old, Jazz befriended Hunter, a Belgian Malinois, who started looking after the newcomer.

A video posted on Nov. 22 showed Jazz licking the fur of Hunter before the pair are wrapped in their own adorable animal embraces.

“Just when we thought it couldn’t get any cuter, sweeter and more heart-warming, this happened,” the video caption read. “The bond and understanding between Jazz the giraffe and Hunter our […] Belgian Malinois is astonishing.”

As Jazz’s health began to deteriorate, the animal orphanage said Hunter knew something was wrong.

“[Hunter] suddenly stayed by the giraffe’s side again not going outside,” they said on Facebook. “Jazz took his last breath with Hunter and all his human mommies by his side.”

Janie Van Heerden fed Jazz, a 9-day-old giraffe at the Rhino orphanage in the Limpopo province of South Africa. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Janie Van Heerden fed Jazz, a 9-day-old giraffe at the Rhino orphanage in the Limpopo province of South Africa. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

The pup reportedly sat in front of the empty room for hours before going to its caretakers “for comfort.”

Over the past couple of weeks, the orphanage had continued to give progress udpates on Jazz, who arrived weak and dehydrated after being found in the wild.

A final photo after Jazz’s passing showed Hunter in front of the closed door of the room where they used to play.

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It received thousands of views and hundreds of comments expressing sadness for the giraffe’s passing and concern for how Hunter would handle the loss of his friend.

In its post, the orphanage paid tribute to Hunter’s loyalty.

“He stayed till the end and said his goodbyes,” it said. “Such a good boy,” adding that Hunter was doing well and would continue training to be a tracking dog.

In its farewell to the giraffe, the orphanage said: “You have taught us so much in the last three weeks and we will remember you fondly.”

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Jazz was buried close to the orphanage, said Arrie van Deventer, the orphanage’s founder.

The Associated Press contributed to the report

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