Accusations Fly in Sudden Deaths of MJ Giraffes

1/13/2010 9:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The owners of two celebrity giraffes -- which once belonged to Michael Jackson and roamed freely in Neverland -- are crying "foul play" after the animals mysteriously died.


PETA sounded alarms this morning when news broke of the giraffes deaths, pointing fingers at the Banjoko Wildlife Preserve in Page, Arizona -- where the giraffes had been living since 2006 -- claiming the preserve was responsible for the deaths due to "improper feeding and/or exposure to cold temperatures."

TMZ spoke with the Banjoko Preserve founder, Freddie Hancock, and she tells us -- "We suspect foul play with the giraffes. There is no other explanation for their deaths. There is currently a police investigation going on. Someone has hurt these giraffes, they were healthy."

A necropsy is currently underway to establish an official cause of death -- but Hancock insists the animals were well taken care of: "There is no sign of infection, abuse, or neglect."

The giraffes -- named JJ and Rambo -- had been at the center of a vicious legal battle between Banjoko and the local city council over a $100,000 bond to cover the animals in case of emergency.