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Maryland Zoo mourns the loss of their 9-month-old sitatunga

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 11:12:09-04

BALTIMORE — On Monday, The Maryland Zoo announced the loss of their youngest sitatunga, Joel. He was 9 months old.

“Joel suffered a leg fracture on Thursday, July 2. The Zoo’s veterinary team partnered with local veterinary surgeons to complete an intricate reconstruction surgery," said Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research at the Zoo. "Despite extreme efforts by the animal care teams, he succumbed to secondary complications on Monday, July 13."

The sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) is a species of antelope native to Central Africa. They live in swamps, marshes and flood plains. Outside of protected areas, sitatunga are vulnerable to over-hunting and habitat loss, as people drain and develop swamp land.

Currently, sitatunga are not classified as threatened or endangered but they are a little known species and the Zoo is a leader in their management and conservation.