Nov 1, 2021 - News
Three giraffes have died at the Dallas Zoo in the last month
An adorable giraffe looking straight at the camera while chewing a stick.
Uncle Auggie, one of three giraffes that died at the Dallas Zoo in the last month. Photo: Courtesy of the Dallas Zoo.

A 14-year-old giraffe named Jesse died at the Dallas Zoo on Friday, the third giraffe to die at the zoo in the last month.

Why it matters: Jesse died after exhibiting symptoms that “closely mirrored” what another giraffe, 19-year-old Auggie, experienced before dying of liver failure last week.

  • The zoo said it’s investigating connections between the deaths, including food sources and habitat. The zoo is also waiting for results from a necropsy and other lab work and asking for help from animal experts all over the country.

What they’re saying: “We’re doing anything and everything we can to understand what’s happening,” Kari Streiber, vice president of marketing and communications at the Dallas Zoo told Axios. “It’s all hands on deck.”

Context: The zoo recently released the results of a preliminary investigation into the death of a 3-month-old calf named Marekani. She was euthanized on Oct. 3 after injuring her leg while running along an inclined section of her exhibit, prompting the zoo to change the terrain of the giraffe habitat.

  • Two other giraffe calves have died at the zoo in recent years. In 2019, 1-year-old Witten died under anesthesia. In 2015, 3-month-old Kipenzi died after she ran into a wall in her habitat.

State of play: The zoo is limiting the movement of the giraffes while they investigate the deaths. The zoo’s nutrition team has also changed the food mix for most of the animals as a precaution.

  • Animal keepers are also closely monitoring the giraffes and other hoofstock and taking regular blood draws to look at each animal’s liver enzymes.
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