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Maryland Zoo in Baltimore mourning the death of Juma the giraffe

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 07:19:58-05

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore announced the death of five-year-old giraffe, Juma. Juma is the mother of 9-month-old giraffe calf Willow. She'd been under intense care for an unknown illness, however she died Tuesday.

“This has been a year of ups and downs with our giraffe herd,” said Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of the Zoo.

“We are feeling the loss of Juma deeply, while knowing that the staff has put their best efforts into caring for her during the past many weeks. She will be greatly missed.”

Juma began experiencing gastro-intestinal problems earlier this year, with several severe episodes. She was treated but she unable to gain weight after the second episode.

Veterinary staff have been treating her with antibiotics, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory medications in an attempt to restore gastrointestinal health, as well as calcium and other nutritional supplements to treat abnormalities detected on recent blood samples.

A thorough necropsy will be performed; however results will not be available for several weeks.

As for baby Willow, the zoo expects her to be fine.

“Willow has been weaned for a few months now, and is nicely integrated into the herd,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager.

“She may initially notice that Juma isn’t there, however she will continue to be with ‘aunties’ Anuli and Kesi and we don’t expect there to be any issues within the herd structure as time passes.”