Texas zoo grief-stricken after unexpected deaths of baby giraffe, its mother

Zuri and Penelope are Masai giraffes; causes of death under investigation

File image of a two week old female Masai giraffe calf at the L.A. Zoo in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images) (MARK RALSTON, Getty Images)

WACO, Texas – Last week was devastating for a zoo in Waco after the unexpected death of a baby giraffe shortly after its mother died.

Zuri, the Masai giraffe calf at Cameron Park Zoo, died Saturday, July 22. Three days earlier, its mother, Penelope, also passed away.

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The zoo posted about the giraffe on Facebook, saying it’s unclear what caused their deaths, but a necropsy (animal autopsy) was conducted to help provide them with answers.

They will also have an “independent review” performed, but they won’t receive the results for several weeks, according to zoo officials.

“The Cameron Park Zoo staff are deeply saddened by the loss of Zuri. They appreciate the continued support of the community in this difficult time,” the zoo said in a statement.

Masai giraffes are among the largest of their species, according to the zoo. These types of giraffes reside in Central and Southern Kenya and Tanzania.

“They are known for their distinct and irregular star-like blotches that extend to their hooves. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the conservation status of wild animals and plants, lists Masai giraffes as endangered, primarily due to poaching and habitat fragmentation,” the zoo said in a statement.

To learn more about these giraffes, or the Cameron Park Zoo, visit its website here.

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