Maryland Zoo says goodbye to Julius the baby giraffe

BALTIMORE, Md. — Julius the baby giraffe, who has struggled with health problems since his birth last month at the Maryland Zoo, has died, zoo officials announced Saturday.

“Since Julius’ birth and the beginning of his battle, we knew his chances of survival were limited, but that never stopped the team from stepping up to provide him every care and comfort, and exhausting all treatment options,” Maryland Zoo officials said in their heartfelt Facebook post breaking the news. “We are saddened that this extraordinary effort wasn’t enough to save him and the entire Maryland Zoo family is feeling this loss very deeply, as we know you are feeling it, too.”

Julius was born June 15 and zoo officials said while giraffes typically start to nurse within a few days, Julius did not learn to nurse. This step is crucial for giraffes to obtain essential antibodies to build up their immune systems.

Zoo officials did all they could. His caretakers fed him special formula and tried to teach him how to drink from a bottle. He even received two plasma transfusions – one donated from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – in an effort to boost his immune system.

His condition turned from critical to dire Friday. Zoo officials made the tough decision to euthanize Julius Saturday after they concluded he was no longer improving and little else could be done to help him.

“The Zoo has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, concern and prayers for him. We simply can’t explain the positive impact your support has had on the team working day and night with him,” Zoo officials said.

An online memory wall has been created for anyone wishing to express messages of support, thanks and love for Julius and his caretakers.

 

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