After an internal review, the Dallas Zoo says it has no explanation for why three of its giraffes died within a single deadly month in October 2021.
In an update on its Facebook page, the zoo says that after a three-month investigation, it has been unsuccessful in finding a common cause for the deaths.
October was a bad month for the zoo:
- Marekani, a 3-month old baby, was euthanized on October 3, after sustaining an injury the zoo said could not be fixed
- Auggie, a 19-year-old giraffe, was euthanized on October 22, after it was determined he had liver disease
- Jesse, a 14-year-old giraffe, was euthanized on October 29, after it was determined he had ulcerative colitis
Marekani's death is considered an isolated incident, although it's not the first time a baby giraffe has died of injuries at the Dallas Zoo; in 2015, Kipenzi, whose birth was broadcast on The Animal Planet, died after running into the wall of her enclosure.
But after both Auggie and Jesse died within a week of each other, the zoo posited a theory that the cause might have been a toxin from a food source or a foreign object.
However, after conducting tests on food, soil, and water, they've ruled out environmental contaminants such as plants in the habitat, pesticides, communicable diseases, or liver parasites.
"Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify a direct link to both of these cases," their post says.
Outside consultants could not find a connection, either.
Regarding the near-simultaneous deaths, Dallas Zoo VP Harrison Edell told the Dallas Morning News that "the timing was just the worst timing ever."