By CBSDFW.com Staff

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Zoo is mourning the sudden loss of three-month-old giraffe calf, Marekani. Late in the day on Saturday, October 2, she was observed walking with a limp, but shifted into the barn with the rest of the herd as she normally does.

Marekani (credit: Dallas Zoo)

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Marekani and her mother, Chrystal were given their own space in the barn, allowing the team to be able to observe her more closely. The veterinary team performed a visual examination and did not see any external wounds, severe swelling, or deviation of the leg at that time. Pain medication was prescribed, along with a plan to allow her to rest overnight and re-evaluate her in the morning.

By Sunday morning, her swelling and lameness had worsened, so veterinarians and animal care staff sedated Marekani for evaluation. During this procedure, veterinarians determined that she had dislocated her right elbow and fractured both her radius and ulna. Due to their large stature and because giraffes bear the majority of their weight on the front limbs, it is nearly impossible to repair an injury like this in a way that is robust enough to stand up to the normal stress of movement and activity.

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Marekani had also fractured through her growth plate, meaning that the bone would not grow correctly and would result in long-term orthopedic deformities, lifelong pain, and arthritis. Sadly, injuries like this are catastrophic for giraffes, according to the zoo and there was no hope of recovery. Given this prognosis, the team made the incredibly difficult decision to humanely euthanize Marekani on Sunday, October 3.

“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,” they posted to Facebook.

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Currently, zoo officials said they’re uncertain how Marekani sustained her injury but they are investigating.

CBSDFW.com Staff