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June 2, 2010
Updated June 3, 2010
Melinda Arnold, Public Relations Director
417-833-1570 (office) or 417-848-0162 (cell)
New arrival to zoo suffers severe injury
Springfield, Mo. - A 10-year-old male giraffe arrived at Dickerson Park Zoo on Wednesday, June 2, for future participation in the zoo's breeding program. At some point, either during transport or the unloading process, the giraffe suffered a severe neck injury and was humanely euthanized by Dickerson Park Zoo's veterinarian. The zoo is reviewing the circumstances of this unfortunate incident.
The animal transport left Florida on Tuesday and arrived in Springfield during late morning on Wednesday. Upon arrival the giraffe had difficulty unloading from the trailer, falling to the ground, and was unable to stand. Zoo staff quickly came to the aid of the animal. The zoo veterinarian administered a sedative to calm the animal, fluids and anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications. The staff also gave the giraffe cold-water baths to keep him cool.
The staff worked with the giraffe in the exhibit yard for nearly two hours, and eventually the giraffe stood up on his own. Unfortunately, it was evident the animal had suffered a broken neck. At that point, the zoo's veterinarian made the decision to humanely euthanize the animal. The giraffe walked into the barn, out of public view, where the medications were given. The zoo's veterinarian will conduct a necropsy (animal autopsy) to determine the extent of the giraffe's injuries and any contributing factors. Results from the necropsy will not be immediately available.
The zoo contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which licenses zoos, as is a normal procedure in an incident of this nature.
The staff is deeply saddened by the day's events. This giraffe would have been 11 years old in July. He was born at Bronx Zoo and later moved to Disney's Animal Kingdom. He was owned by San Diego Zoo and had been loaned to Dickerson Park Zoo for the giraffe breeding program here.
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Dickerson Park Zoo is a division of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.