The News and Observer reports the North Carolina Zoo confirmed late last week the employee was 38-year-old arborist Branson Langley.
Langley died in a 20 to 30-foot (6 to 9-meter) fall from a tree while simulating the rescue of a trapped co-worker.
In a Facebook post , the zoo announced a fund for Langley's 9-year-old daughter to support her education and "help her achieve all the dreams that her father wished for her."
The paper reports Langley's death was the first fatality since the zoo opened in 1974.
The accident is being investigated by the sheriff's office and the Department of Labor.
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