A baby giraffe named Julius died over the weekend just one month after his birth at the Maryland Zoo, according to an announcement on the zoo’s website that let well-wishers know he had been euthanized after showing a decline in health. Via a press release that was published on Saturday on the Maryland Zoo website, the zoo’s CEO and president, Don Hutchinson, verified that Julius the baby giraffe had died after “every avenue was explored” to save him. Julius was born exactly one month before his death and suffered from an inability to nurse properly, a condition that was noticed almost immediately by the Maryland Zoo staff, according to the zoo’s statement.
During the month that Julius the baby giraffe lived, he reportedly gained a lot of well-wishers from “animal lovers” who followed the Maryland Zoo’s “tireless efforts” to keep the giraffe alive, mainly via the zoo’s official social media accounts. After learning that Julius had been euthanized on Saturday, Facebook and Twitter users offered their love, sympathy, and condolences to the giraffe, as well as to the Maryland Zoo workers and team of veterinarians who had “put their lives on hold” for the month following the birth of Julius to try to nurse him back to health. Hutchinson said via the press release that the care team put in “Herculean efforts” through transfusions, IV fluids, antibiotics, bottle feeding, and tube feeding “around the clock,” but Julius continued to remain in critical health.
“His condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, and we had to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him. This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, but we rest assured that we did everything we possibly could medically to prevent him from any distress.”
— Maryland Zoo (@marylandzoo) July 15, 2017
Every “available resource” was reportedly utilized since the birth of Julius to mom Kesi at the Maryland Zoo during the “early morning hours” of June 15 to keep the male giraffe alive, according to Yahoo! News on Sunday via Good Morning America. Less than a day after Julius the giraffe was born, zoo staff noticed he wasn’t able to nurse effectively and began teaching him how to bottle feed a “special colostrum formula.” In an interview on CBS Baltimore, a veterinarian with the Maryland Zoo, Dr. Samantha Sander, said that Julius the giraffe had been a “critical patient since he was born,” and they had been working for the past month to strengthen and stabilize the first male giraffe born at the Maryland Zoo in 20 years. Visitors to the Maryland Zoo who had been “following every day to see how he’s doing” said that it was “just very sad” to learn that Julius the giraffe had been euthanized on Saturday.
— Maryland Zoo (@marylandzoo) July 14, 2017
USA Today reported on Sunday that thousands of “condolences continued to pour in for Julius” the 1-month-old giraffe from #TeamJulius supporters on the Maryland Zoo’s social media accounts. Julius the giraffe was born at a healthy weight and height and even reportedly gained a few pounds after his birth through bottle feeding, but a postmortem examination will help to try to determine why he was born unable to nurse, according to the previously mentioned article on Yahoo! News. One well-wisher wrote on the Maryland Zoo’s Facebook page that the legacy of Julius the giraffe “will live on in the knowledge gained from his short life,” and “the increased interest in giraffes,” worldwide interest that began five months ago when Animal Adventure Park in New York set up a live cam to stream the birth of April the giraffe’s healthy male calf, Oliver — a live stream that continues to this day on YouTube.
[Featured Image by Joern Pollex/Getty Images]