Maryland Zoo: Julius, the baby giraffe, has died

BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Zoo says a young giraffe that has been struggling since birth has died.

Zoo CEO Don Hutchinson said Saturday that veterinary staff and an animal care team put their lives on hold and explored every avenue to try to nurse Julius back to health.

Julius was born to first-time mother Kesi on June 15, but he was not able to learn to nurse effectively and had insufficient antibodies to protect him from disease.

To boost his immune system, he was given two transfusions of giraffe plasma, one from the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and another from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

Dr. Samantha Sander, an associate veterinarian at the zoo, says his condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, prompting a decision to euthanize the calf.

The Zoo announced on Facebook that it has set up a memorial page for Julius:

We’ve set up an online memory wall for Julius so that giraffe lovers all over the world who fell in love with our little calf and are as overwhelmed as we are right now can share messages of support for Julius, the herd, the team and each other: https://padlet.com/maryland_zoo/miarg2wbxfk