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Zoo saddened to announce death of Zuberi

Zoo Atlanta is deeply saddened to announce that Zuberi, an 8-year-old adult male reticulated giraffe, died unexpectedly during the afternoon of May 14, 2018. Zuberi was in the Zoo’s behind-the-scenes giraffe complex when the incident occurred.

Zuberi was at the Zoo’s giraffe building, an area very familiar to him and the other members of his herd, and had been observed by members of his care team just moments before a portion of his neck became wedged in a small space in a metal railing. The Animal Care Team responded immediately, with the Veterinary Team and large-mammal animal care specialists on the scene, but Zuberi died very shortly thereafter.

“The Zoo Atlanta family, and especially those animal care team members who are with the giraffes daily, are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic and unexpected loss. Zuberi showed no signs of injury, illness or distress in the moments prior to this event,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Vice President of Animal Divisions. “Our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams responded to the emergency right away, but despite their immediate and heroic efforts, were not able to save Zuberi.”

The official cause of Zuberi’s death will not be known until after the completion of a necropsy, or the animal equivalent of an autopsy, being conducted through the Zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Results will be available within coming weeks.

Safety checks on all animal areas are part of Zoo Atlanta’s regular daily procedures, and the Zoo Atlanta teams are thoroughly reviewing the entirety of the areas used by the giraffes. The other members of Zuberi’s herd, adult males Abu, 12, Etana, 6, and Isooba, 6, are behaving normally following the loss of their herd member and do not have access to the area where the incident occurred.

Born February 13, 2010, at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Zuberi arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 2014. He was known for both his role within the herd and for his training relationships with his care team.

“Zuberi was an important part of the giraffe herd and a special individual,” Murphy said. “We share the heartbreak of this event with the animal care professionals who knew him best and with our Veterinary Team, as well as our admiration for their outstanding commitment to Zuberi and to all the animals in our care.”

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