The Maryland Zoo announced the death of young giraffe calf Julius on Saturday after confronting a month of medical conditions.
“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.”
Born on June 15, 2017, the baby calf was never able to learn how to nurse effectively, so staff began to feed him with a special formula and teach him how to bottle feed. He was given two transfusions of giraffe plasma, multiple antibiotics, IV fluids and other intensive care in efforts to boost his immune system and stabilize his condition.
“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. “His condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, and we had to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him. 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.”
Sander added that a necropsy will be conducted to determine what circumstances at the very beginning led to his health deficit.
“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," Sanders continued.