Maryland Zoo’s giraffe calf dies

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BALTIMORE, Md. — The Maryland Zoo’s baby giraffe, Julius, died exactly a month after he was born, ending a short life full of health struggles.

The zoo opted to put the giraffe to sleep humanely after his condition took a turn for the worse.

“It’s hard to put our emotions into words right now,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of the 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.”

Julius had struggled to survive from day one. Despite his mother Kesi’s best efforts, he never learned how to nurse effectively, and over the next month the Maryland Zoo says that staff exhausted all options trying to help him thrive.

“There are dozens of people who have provided assistance along this journey with Julius,” said Mike McClure, general curator at the Zoo. “From zoo giraffe experts to veterinarians to nutritionists and human doctors and pediatric specialists, we utilized every available resource to us. We are incredibly grateful to each and every one.”

Giraffes are classified as a vulnerable species, which means they will become endangered unless circumstances change significantly.

A necropsy will be performed on Julius to figure out why his health was imperiled from the very beginning.