BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Another giraffe has died at Baltimore’s zoo, making it the second one to perish at the facility this year.
A 5-year-old female giraffe named Juma has died from an undetermined illness, according to a Wednesday statement from The Maryland Zoo. She had received treatment for gastrointestinal problems earlier this year, but was never able to regain weight after a second severe bout.
Veterinary staff were treating her with various medications and consulted with experts around the country to try and improve Juma’s health but they were unable to improve the animal’s condition. She died late Tuesday.
“There was something going on in her intestines that she was not able to absorb nutrients correctly,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson the zoo’s director of animal health, conservation and research. “We had lots of advice from colleagues of things to try and we tried pretty much everything suggested. We are devastated that despite these efforts we were not able to turn her around.”
Zoo President Donald Hutchinson said that 2017 has been “a year of ups and downs with our giraffe herd.”
In July, the zoo announced the death of a male calf named Julius that had been struggling since birth. That weeks-old giraffe was not able to learn to nurse effectively and had insufficient antibodies to protect him from disease.
There are now four giraffes at the zoo, including Willow, Juma’s weaned calf.
Erin Cantewll, mammal collection and conservation manager, said Willow “is nicely integrated into the herd.”
Breeding among zoo giraffes is decided by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It’s all part of a species survival plan. For now, the herd will remain at four, three females and one male.
Material from the necropsy is being studied by the veterinary pathologist at Johns Hopkins to determine exactly what killed Zuma.
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