A frequent critic of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's animal policies sent a letter Thursday to federal regulators asking for an investigation into the death of the park's two-year-old giraffe.
Makonnen, the young giraffe, died early Wednesday after an electrical outlet in the barn malfunctioned, setting afire the hay on the floor and the wooden structure, a fire official said.
"The death of the giraffe is tragic. We wrote the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) because they need to look into the situation and determine whether the death was caused by a lack of facility maintenance," said Catherine Doyle, spokeswoman for San Rafael-based In Defense of Animals. The group also questioned the park's overnight supervision of its animals.
"Apparently drivers passing by first noticed the fire and not in fact the security personnel on the premises," Doyle said.
Park spokeswoman Nancy Chan said Six Flags immediately contacted the USDA, the park's animal regulatory agency, after the incident to file a report.
"Clearly this was an accident. There was no neglect as they're alleging," Chan said. "Of course, this group criticizes us no matter what we do. This was a tragedy, however we do provide excellent care of our animals."