Dallas, TX – Two giraffes died in just two weeks in Dallas Zoo in the last two weeks and officials with the Zoo believe that both toxin related deaths were connected.
As multiple sources reported, the 14-year-old giraffe Jesse died on Friday after a week-long battle with an aggressive illness.
Jesse had almost the same symptoms as the 19-year-old giraffe Auggie that died the previous week. Both Jesse and Auggie reportedly had abnormally high liver enzymes.
The officials with the zoo are still waiting for the lab results in an effort to locate what led to their deaths.
“The necropsy results from both giraffes pointed to liver damage, which is leading us to focus on the possibility that they were exposed to a toxin of some sort, either through a food source, in the exhibit space, or introduced via a foreign object. We also are testing for Zoonotic diseases, including encephalomyocarditis (EMC). With the help of outside experts from across the country, we are and will continue working through lab test results on blood, tissue, food, plants, and other items, in an effort to identify the cause, while also working to eliminate possibilities,” the Dallas Zoo said in a statement.
According to the zoo, as soon as they realized that Auggie’s death was connected to a toxin, they did some changes in an effort to save the other giraffes in the zoo. They say they switched the food supplies, limited giraffes’ movement area and were conducting regular blood draws.
However, none of these precaution steps worked and later Jesse got sick and died.
“We know it’s difficult to hear about these losses. We hope explanations and openness like this help you trust that no one cares more for these animals or grieves more over the losses than the animal care and veterinary teams here at the Zoo. We will keep you updated as we continue to work through this evolving situation,” the Dallas Zoo said.
There are six more giraffes in the Dallas Zoo right now and they are under close observation 24 hours a day. As of today, none of the rest six giraffes has shown any symptoms like Jesse and Auggie. Outside experts are assisting the zoo in their investigation.
The zoo was also forced to euthanize a 3-month-old giraffe calf in early October after she sustained a catastrophic injury. Her death is unrelated to the two recent deaths.