2nd giraffe dies this year at Baltimore zoo: 5-year-old Juma

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BALTIMORE — A 5-year-old female giraffe named Juma has died this week at The Maryland Zoo, marking the second death of a giraffe this year at the Baltimore facility.

The giraffe had been undergoing treatment for gastrointestinal problems earlier this year, but never regained weight after its latest severe bout and died of an undetermined illness, the zoo said in a statement Wednesday.

Veterinary staff had treated Juma with various medications and consulted experts around the country in a bid to improve her health. But those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful and the giraffe died late Tuesday.

“We are devastated that despite these efforts we were not able to turn her around,” said Dr. Ellen Bronson, the zoo’s director of animal health, conservation and research.

Zoo President Donald Hutchinson said 2017 has been “a year of ups and downs with our giraffe herd.”

In July, the zoo announced the death of a male calf named Julius that had been struggling since birth. That weeks-old giraffe was not able to learn to nurse effectively and had insufficient antibodies to protect him from disease.

There are now four giraffes at the zoo, including Willow, Juma’s weaned calf.

Erin Cantwell, the zoo’s mammal collection and conservation manager, said Willow “is nicely integrated into the herd.”