The Dallas Zoo announced Tuesday that it is mourning the loss of one of its youngest members, three-month-old Marekani.
On Saturday, Oct. 2, the baby giraffe was observed walking with a limp. The veterinary team allowed her to move to their own space in the barn, and observed closely. Upon physical examination, no external wounds or severe swelling were noted, said the zoo. The team prescribed pain medication and planned to re-evaluate in the morning.
However, come Sunday morning, the swelling and lameness had worsened. The zoo said animal care staff then had her sedated for evaluation.
"During this procedure, veterinarians determined that she had dislocated her right elbow and fractured both her radius and ulna," said the zoo. "Due to their large stature and because giraffes bear the majority of their weight on the front limbs, it is nearly impossible to repair an injury like this in a way that is robust enough to stand up to the normal stress of movement and activity."
Marekani would face life-long pain, long-term orthopedic deformities, and arthritis due to her injuries, as the bone would not grow correctly going forward, according to the announcement.
"Sadly, injuries like this are catastrophic for giraffes, and there was no hope of recovery," said the North Texas zoo. "Given this prognosis, the team made the incredibly difficult decision to humanely euthanize Marekani on Sunday, October 3."
According to the zoo, the loss of this giraffe calf was sudden and they are still uncertain as to what caused the young animal's injury, but are working to gather information.
"As with any event like this, we will use this as an opportunity to evaluate every element of the situation and identify any changes we can make to prevent future incidents," said the zoo on Tuesday.
"Although she was only with us for a short time, Marekani captured the hearts of Zoo staff, guests, and the public alike. She will be dearly missed."