A giraffe born this summer at the Dallas Zoo was euthanized Sunday after suffering an injury zoo officials say is "catastrophic" for giraffes.
Marekani, born on July 4, had a dislocated right elbow, fractures to her radius and ulna, and a fracture "through her growth plate," the Dallas Zoo wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. The zoo said such injuries would cause "long-term orthopedic deformities, lifelong pain, and arthritis."
The zoo said it did not know how Marekani was injured.
Officials said they noticed the three-month-old calf walking with a limp Saturday, so they gave her and her mother Chrystal their own space in the barn, where they could be observed.
The veterinary team did not see any external wounds, swelling or anything else that gave them pause Saturday night, so they gave Marekani pain medication with plans to evaluate her in the morning, the zoo said.
Marekani's swelling and limp were worse by Sunday morning, so veterinarians sedated her so they could examine her closely, which was when they found the fractures.
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The zoo said that because giraffes bear so much weight on their front legs, the type of injury Marekani had was "nearly impossible" to recover from.
"As with any event like this, we will use this as an opportunity to evaluate every element of the situation and identify any changes we can make to prevent future incidents," the zoo wrote on Facebook. "Although she was only with us for a short time, Marekani captured the hearts of Zoo staff, guests, and the public alike. She will be dearly missed."
Marekani is the third young giraffe to die at the Dallas Zoo since 2015.
In June 2019, 1-year-old Witten, named for former Dallas Cowboys' great Jason Witten, died while he was under anesthesia for a physical exam.
In July 2015, 4-month-old Kipenzi died after she ran into the perimeter edge of her habitat.