Giraffe dies at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin

Jumaane and mother Emi Lane 2008
Jumaane and mother Emi Lane 2008

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – An autopsy has been ordered to determine why a two year old giraffe died at Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin.

According to a news release, the Masai giraffe, Jumaane, was found dead by zookeepers on Tuesday.  Michael Nance, DVM, staff veterinarian, performed a necropsy on the giraffe.  There was no conclusive evidence to indicate cause of death.  Further tests are being done to help discover cause of death.

Jumaane was born in January 2008 to mother, Emi Lane, weighing in at a whopping 6-foot-3, 156 pounds.

Charlotte Henley, Director of Educational Services, said the giraffe's death came as a total shock to its keeper and to the zoo staff because Jumaane had shown no sign of any problem.  "The keeper had put the animals out at 9:30.  When she went back to check on them at 11 he was gone.  There were no signs of struggle or injury.  We were totally blindsided by his death," Henley said.

Jumaane's mother, Emi Lane, appears to be doing OK.  "She has another baby which takes up much of her time."  Henley said Jumaane had been removed from the exhibit and buried.  Tissue samples have been sent off for evaluation.  "It's the first giraffe that we've lost…it's rough."

Henley said the giraffe exhibit is still open.  Jumaane's little brother and mother are on display.  Another female giraffe is pregnant and due to deliver a baby in the next couple of weeks, according to Henley.  Jumaane's father is also at the zoo, but not on display at this time.

©2010 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.