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Two unrelated giraffe deaths occurred earlier this summer at Dickerson Park Zoo, and now the summaries of the animals’ autopsies have been released. KSMU’s Ryan Welch has the story.
Dickerson Park Zoo’s staff thought it would have two new giraffes in its facilities by this summer. But due to rather odd circumstances, neither giraffe is still living.
The 10-year-old male giraffe known as Asante arrived on June 2, and zoo staff noticed right away that he was not healthy. Asante had suffered a severe neck injury, and did not recover. Zoo staff members were forced to euthanize him.
A baby giraffe then died on July 3 after a difficult few days of life. The baby was unable to stand or nurse from her mother. She was a breech birth, and the animal autopsy showed that the majority of the problems occurred prior to the calf’s birth. She accumulated fluid and blood in her internal organs, and her brain and spinal cord were swollen.
Dickerson Park Zoo Public Relations Director Melinda Arnold says it’s been difficult on the staff to have two giraffes die in its hands in such a short amount of time.
“It is a challenge when you’re working with animals. You celebrate life and new birth, but then you also do have to deal with illness and ultimately death. It does take its toll on the staff because they put so much effort into caring for their animals. We do the best that we can for our animals and sometimes, the outcomes are not what we hope for,” Arnold said.
She says that even through this difficult time, the Springfield area residents have been very good to the zoo.
“By and large, the response from the community has been very supportive and very encouraging. And they are expressing their sympathies and condolences to us, which is helpful in times like this to know that the community supports the zoo and our staff and recognizes the level of professional care that we provide our animals here,” Arnold said.
She says morale has been pretty good through this difficult time, and that the community’s positive feedback has had a lot to do with that.
For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Welch.