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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.

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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.

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