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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

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Press Release

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Contact: Amy Hernden * 904-757-4463, ext. 211 * cell: 941.720.2538 * (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Mourns Giraffe and Zebra Death

May 20, 2014 - Jacksonville, Fl -

After a valiant effort by staff, it is with great sadness that Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announces the humane euthanasia of Zawadi, the giraffe who collapsed yesterday while on exhibit.

“Zawadi was a favorite among Zoo staff, especially her keepers,” said Corey Neatrour, supervisor of mammals at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “While very difficult to lose her, it was moving to see so many departments work tirelessly throughout the day to provide her the best possible care and attempt to get her to her feet. She will be greatly missed.”

Both Zawadi and staff made attempts to get her to her feet, but the effort proved too great for the stability of her health. She has no serious medical history that would have led keepers or medical staff to believe something like this would happen suddenly. The Zoo has performed an initial necropsy which has no conclusive evidence of any infection or disease. Zawadi was the Zoo’s oldest giraffe at 19 years of age and has given birth to eight calves during her time at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  Her youngest calf born in February has already fit right in with the rest of the herd and will be given special attention by keepers to ensure his diet and health is maintained properly without his mother.

“Losing an animal is always difficult for our staff especially after the team worked so hard and so long to save Zawadi, said Dan Maloney, Deputy Director of Conservation and Education. “We take some comfort from the fact that her passing was peaceful, and her care-givers were there with her to cradle and stroke her head during her transition.”

This last week has been especially difficult as the newest zebra foal also lost her mother, Darasa, Saturday morning. She was treated the previous day for a possible colic, but was discovered the next morning before additional treatment could be administered. The initial necropsy for the 15-year-old zebra did confirm colic, a severe twisting of her intestines.

Keepers and veterinarians are optimistic for the health of the calf and foal as they have been growing strong and adjusting well to their surroundings. Both will receive additional attention and nurturing from the dedicated staff at the Zoo.

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About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.