Giraffe's death at Ellen Trout Zoo remains unsolved

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "Jumaane" was allowed out of the giraffe night quarters into the giraffe yard on 12 January 2010, a nice sunny morning, and an hour and a half later was found dead in its exhibit.

According to Zoo Director Gordon Henley, "Jumaane" was behaving normally while inside and shortly after going outside. There were no previous symptoms, there were no signs of injury, there were no signs of a struggle. He apparently just dropped dead."

Dr. Nance, the zoos Staff Veterinarian, did an immediate necropsy (the animal version of an autopsy) to see if he could determine the cause. Nothing was obvious, so Dr. Nance took various samples for further diagnostic tests.

Zoo officials wanted to know if there was anything they could have done to prevent the death and wanted to know if they needed to do anything to protect the other giraffes. "Samples were sent to laboratories that specialize in exotic animal disorders and diseases but nothing came back to explain what had happened, so the cause of death remains undetermined," Gordon said.

"Jumaane" was two years old at the time of his death.

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