A baby giraffe born at the Maryland Zoo died after attempts to nurse him back to health failed, the zoo announced Saturday.
Julius was born on June 15 and had difficulties nursing effectively. Because of the problem, he did not develop a strong immune system.
Despite efforts to stabilize and boost his health, his condition took a sharp turn late Friday into Saturday. Zoo veterinarians made the decision to humanely euthanize him.
“Despite intensive medical interventions, tube feeding and around the clock care, Julius remained a critical patient,” stated Dr. Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian at the Zoo. “This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, but we rest assured that we did everything we possibly could medically to prevent him from any distress.”
“A necropsy will be done to try and determine what put Julius at this health deficit from the beginning,” continued Sander. “Sometimes there are underlying issues that are not able to be identified or solved by even the best science and skill. Julius’ short life will help gain vast knowledge not only for us, but for other facilities as we all continue to face similar issues in our efforts to save and safeguard the species.”
Zoo officials said help was received from The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital to try and save Julius.
“It’s hard to put our emotions into words right now,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Maryland Zoo. “Our veterinary staff and our animal care team put their lives on hold to try and nurse Julius back to health, and every avenue was explored. Sadly, he was unable to survive in spite of their Herculean efforts.”