Dallas Zoo suspects two current giraffe deaths are related, could have been attributable to toxins

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Two current deaths of giraffes on the Dallas Zoo could also be related, the zoo stated Monday morning.

Necropsy outcomes from giraffes Jesse and Auggie, who died inside every week of one another in October, point out each animals suffered liver injury. The zoo is investigating whether or not the pair had been uncovered to toxins or a contagious zoonotic illness.

The toxin may have come from meals, their habitat or a overseas object, in keeping with a written assertion from the zoo.

“We nonetheless have intense work forward of us to discover a potential hyperlink between these two deaths and decide what could have led to this,” the zoo stated. “The lab outcomes we rely on for analysis and affirmation merely can not come quick sufficient — for us and for you. We all know it’s troublesome to listen to about these losses.”

The zoo introduced the loss of life of its tallest giraffe, Jesse, on Saturday. Jesse died after a fast deterioration that “carefully mirrored” what one other giraffe, Auggie, skilled earlier than dying every week earlier.

Jesse, 14, got here to the zoo in October 2008 from a wildlife protect in Santa Rosa, Calif. Auggie, who was 19, had been “coping with age-related well being points that led to liver failure,” the zoo has stated.

The zoo stated preventive measures had been put in place earlier than Jesse’s loss of life, following the deadly damage of a 3-month-old calf, Marekani. She was euthanized Oct. 3 after she injured her leg whereas operating alongside an inclined part of her exhibit.

Marekani’s loss of life prompted the zoo to change the terrain of the giraffe exhibit and add cameras to extra carefully monitor the animals. Auggie’s loss of life additionally prompted adjustments to the giraffe’s habitat and feed yard.

The zoo stated provides and meals have been thrown away, out of “an abundance of warning” whereas toxicology screens are accomplished. The zoo can be monitoring the well being of its different giraffes — and different hoofstock species — for indicators of sickness.

Different notable giraffe deaths

The common life expectancy for male giraffes in captivity is about 15 years. For females, it’s 20 years, in keeping with the Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums.

Two different giraffes have died on the Dallas Zoo lately, together with in 2019, when 1-year-old Witten died below anesthesia. In 2015, 3-month-old Kipenzi died after breaking three neck vertebrae when she ran right into a wall in her habitat.

Witten, a young giraffe at the Dallas Zoo, died earlier this year.

Throughout Texas, there have been not less than 4 extra deaths of giraffes in captivity, in keeping with a report from the animal rights group Folks for the Moral Remedy of Animals.

Sunny, an 11-year-old giraffe, died on the Abilene Zoo in January 2021, and a 15-year-old giraffe died at that zoo from bladder problems in June 2020. In October 2020, an 18-month-old giraffe named Azizi died throughout a veterinary examination on the East Texas Zoo and Gator Park in Grand Saline.

The Houston Zoo suffered a notable loss when 21-year-old Tyra died following “a number of age-related adjustments related along with her digestive system” in June 2020.

The Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums regulates amenities by means of voluntary requirements and tips that members should meet to realize the extremely regarded accreditation. The affiliation accredits about 250 zoos.

An AZA spokesman stated Monday that the Dallas Zoo’s accreditation is just not in query.

“Dallas Zoo is retaining us knowledgeable and consulting skilled colleagues all through our neighborhood of members to assist perceive the extremely uncommon and tragic giraffe deaths which have occurred just lately,” stated Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA. “We have now each confidence of their professionalism, their dedication, and of their final success.”

A number of high-profile zoos have misplaced accreditation from the AZA through the years, together with the Columbus Zoo, which was stripped of its standing in early October over improper enterprise practices by former staff, in keeping with stories by The Columbus Dispatch.

In March 2018, the Baton Rouge Zoo misplaced its 40-year accreditation after inspectors famous three animal escapes in 16 months, outdated amenities and a 2016 incident wherein dogs attacked and killed three monkeys, The Advocate reported.

Zoos additionally threat various penalties whether it is decided that they’ve failed to stick to federal and state animal welfare legal guidelines.

For instance, the Dallas Zoo confronted a $10,00 wonderful from the U.S. Agriculture Division after inspectors visited the ability as a result of a gorilla had escaped its enclosure in March 2004. The 350-pound gorilla, Jabari, attacked a number of individuals, together with a toddler, earlier than police fatally shot him.

The USDA couldn’t be reached for remark Monday, however there have been no indications the Dallas Zoo will face an inspection by the division following the current giraffe deaths.

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