CINCINNATI, OH (July 1, 2011) - It is with great sadness and despair that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden announces the loss of its three-month-old giraffe, Zuri. Zoo veterinarians noticed Zuri’s fractured leg had become more unstable earlier this week, which prompted the medical procedure today. During the examination, vets determined that Zuri had done further damage to the fracture site. As a result of this damage, the fracture was not healing as expected and staff were unfortunately presented with the worst case scenario that the bone had become severely fragmented, ending any hope for recovery. The debilitating injury led Zoo staff, with the help of local equine specialists, to make the difficult decision to euthanize Zuri.
“In my 34 years of working with animals I have never felt such a tremendous blow,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “In just three short months Zuri captured the heart of our community and was deeply loved by everyone at the Zoo. We are heartbroken.”
Zuri broke her leg on May 19 and over the last six weeks received the best care available as Zoo staff worked tirelessly, casting, examining and re-casting Zuri on three separate occasions.
“With the absence of hope for her long-term recovery, we had to make the difficult and painful decision to euthanize Zuri,” said Dave Oehler, Director of Animal Collections at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Decisions like that are made based on the animal’s quality of life. The undeniable pain this has caused our staff and community is a testament to the impact Zuri had on us all. She will not be forgotten.”
Zuri’s mother, Tessa and father, Kimba, remain together at Giraffe Ridge. At this time the Zoo is mourning and will not be available for interviews.