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Remembering Shirley the warthog

Zoo Atlanta is saddened to share the news that Shirley, a 13-year-old warthog at Zoo Atlanta, has died. The Animal Care Teams had been monitoring Shirley closely following a loss of appetite and other signs of illness. After diagnostic procedures on Saturday, February 29 proved inconclusive, an exploratory surgery performed by the Veterinary Team on Monday, March 2, revealed multiple abnormalities in Shirley’s digestive system organs. Given her poor prognosis, the team made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

Shirley helped introduce Zoo Atlanta guests to her species in 2007, when she and late male Vern arrived with the opening of the Zoo’s Kalahari Connections complex. The pair were parents to five litters of piglets over the years, all but one of whom ultimately moved to other zoos, many starting families of their own. A daughter, 5-year-old Eleanor, resides at Zoo Atlanta and moved with Shirley to the Zoo’s new African Savanna in August 2019.

“It is extremely difficult to lose any animal, and many come very close to our hearts for their individual personalities and the relationships their care teams are able to form with them. This was certainly the case with Shirley, who was very dear to the team who cared for her daily,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Deputy Director. “She will be greatly missed by all those who had come to love her, and that includes the countless Members and guests who had the opportunity to appreciate her over her years with us.”

A necropsy, or the non-human equivalent of an autopsy, is performed following all animal deaths at Zoo Atlanta, regardless of age. Pathology report results are pending, and full results should be available in coming weeks. 

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