DALLAS — Updated Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021 at 10:15 a.m. with more information from the Dallas Zoo about the number of giraffes in the herd.
The Dallas Zoo has lost its third giraffe within a month and is looking into what caused health issues that led to the two latest deaths, officials said.
The zoo said its 14-year-old giraffe named Jesse died Friday evening "after a less-than-week-long battle with symptoms and a quick deterioration."
According to the zoo, the symptoms "closely mirrored" those that its 19-year-old giraffe, Auggie, suffered when he died about a week before.
"While this immediately raised concerns over a possible connection, we still have intense work ahead of us to establish an exact cause or identify a possible link between the two deaths," the zoo said in a statement to WFAA.
There are now six giraffes in the zoo's herd, the zoo said in a Sunday statement to WFAA.
The zoo said it's working with outside experts to investigate any possible causes as it awaits necropsy and lab reports for Jesse and Auggie.
"Our most immediate concern is to do everything possible to isolate these tragic events and protect the other animals entrusted in our care. We have put several preventative measures in place across our animal teams to help minimize possible risks from food sources and other environmental exposures. And teams are closely monitoring giraffe and similar hoofstock for any signs of illness," the zoo said in its statement Saturday.
The zoo said it is also working to limit giraffe movements and access to the habitat and feed yard as they continue to investigate.
A formal announcement, along with additional details, is expected to be made this week, according to the zoo.
The zoo lost its 3-month-old giraffe named Marekani on Sunday, Oct. 3 after she suffered a major injury when an adult giraffe collided with her in their habitat.
The zoo said Marekani was euthanized after a veterinary team determined her injuries would lead to "long-term orthopedic deformities, lifelong pain, and arthritis" and that there was "no hope for recovery."