Julius the Giraffe Dies: It`s Hard To Say Goodbye

Julius the Giraffe Dies

The Maryland Zoo says a young giraffe that has been struggling since birth has died.

Zoo CEO Don Hutchinson said Saturday that veterinary staff and an animal care team put their lives on hold and explored every avenue to try to nurse Julius back to health.

Julius was born to first-time mother Kesi on June 15, but he was not able to learn to nurse effectively and had insufficient antibodies to protect him from disease.

To boost his immune system, he was given two transfusions of giraffe plasma, one from the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and another from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

Dr. Samantha Sander, an associate veterinarian at the zoo, says his condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, prompting a decision to euthanize the calf.

morning update julius maryland zoo

He was given two transfusions of giraffe plasma, antibiotics and IV fluids to provide nutritional support, but the baby giraffe’s condition continued to decline.

“His condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, and we had to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him. This is certainly not the outcome were hoping for, but rest assured that we did everything we possibly could medically to prevent him from any distress,” said associate veterinarian Dr. Samantha Sander.

Julius the Giraffe Dies – Veterinarians and Julius’ care team are hoping that a necropsy will determine what caused the giraffe’s health issues and ultimate passing.The Maryland Zoo said it was grateful for the support Julius received from all around the world that has helped the staff cope with the tragedy.

 

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It’s hard to even write the words. Julius is gone. After weeks of effort, intensive medical treatments and round-the-clock hands on care, today the team made a decision they never wanted to have to make. Since Julius’ birth and the beginning of his battle, we knew his chances of survival were limited, but that never stopped the team from stepping up to provide him every care and comfort, and exhausting all treatment options.

Julius Clip

If you’ve been following his journey, you know the effort has been intense, guided by collaboration between our giraffe experts and animal professionals from all over the country. In the end, we are saddened that this extraordinary effort wasn't enough to save him and the entire Maryland Zoo family is feeling this loss very deeply, as we know you are feeling it, too.

He had a very challenging start to life, and it is with heavy hearts that The Maryland Zoo announces the death of young giraffe calf, Julius. “It’s hard to put our emotions into words right now,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Zoo. “Our veterinary staff and our animal care team put their lives on hold to try and nurse Julius back to health, and every avenue was explored. Sadly, he was unable to survive in spite of their Herculean efforts.”

Julius was born to first time mother Kesi during the early morning hours of Thursday, June 15, 2017. Despite the wonderful maternal care provided by Kesi, Julius was never able to learn to nurse effectively.  Staff began to supplement him with a special colostrum formula within 24-hours and attempted to teach him to bottle feed. 

In order to boost his immune system, he was given two transfusions of giraffe plasma, from the Columbus and Cheyenne Mountain Zoos, as well as multiple courses of antibiotics, IV fluids, and other intensive care in order to provide nutritional support and to stabilize his condition.  Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital also provided clinical support for the implementation of a Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) IV formula, as well as generously donating the TPN to the Zoo.

“Despite intensive medical interventions, tube feeding and around the clock care, Julius remained a critical patient,” stated Dr. Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian at the Zoo.

Julius` Tribute

“His condition took a sharp turn downward overnight, and we had to make the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him. This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, but we rest assured that we did everything we possibly could medically to prevent him from any distress.”

“There are dozens of people who have provided assistance along this journey with Julius,” said Mike McClure, general curator at the Zoo. “From zoo giraffe experts to veterinarians to nutritionists and human doctors and pediatric specialists, we utilized every available resource to us. 

We are incredibly grateful to each and every one, including the exceptional assistance of the staff and giraffe herds at The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Without them, we would have run out of options far sooner.”

“A necropsy will be done to try and determine what put Julius at this health deficit from the beginning,” continued Sander. “Sometimes there are underlying issues that are not able to be identified or solved by even the best science and skill. Julius’ short life will help gain vast knowledge not only for us, but for other facilities as we all continue to face similar issues in our efforts to save and safeguard the species.”

julius the giraffe dies

Julius the Giraffe 

“We would like to thank the thousands of people from around the world who have sent positive thoughts and prayers to Julius and the staff here at the Zoo,” concluded Hutchinson.  “The outpouring of support has indeed bolstered everyone at the Zoo, and most especially the people who have been working directly with Julius and the rest of the giraffe herd through this very trying time.”

Julius had health problems since he was born at Maryland Zoo, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo provided a plasma transfusion last week to help boost his immune system. But sadly his condition took a sharp downward turn overnight.

We’ve set up an online memory store for Julius so that giraffe lovers all over the world who fell in love with our little calf

JuliusTeam` Store Available Now, You Can Order:  Here 

Julius the Giraffe Dies – Supporters react: 

Rae Halton Weaver RIP Sweet Julius. I didn't even want to look at today for this is what I was afraid to read. He sure fought hard to live. I wished for another outcome, as we all did, but we also did not want to see him suffer. He will remain in our memory now. Thank you to the staff for their valiant effort to save him. My deepest sympathies to all of you at this time. I is hard to type through tears. It is a had decision to know when it is time to say good bye. But we must never be selfish. Go run now little Julius. No more suffering.

Amy Weldon Thank you, Giraffe and MD Zoo team. Thank you for bringing us with you on your journey to foster hope for this species by way of two incredible little calves. Your work with Julius will save more giraffe babies in the future and thanks to your amazing social media staff, the world now knows just what being a zookeeper is all about.

Your tireless work, nurturing care and willingness to sacrifice your own comfort and priorities to keep little Julius healthy did not go unnoticed. Thank you for being true animal welfare advocates. Many many hugs your way.

Laura Cooper Sterling Oh no so sorry to hear this!! Rest In Peace beautiful Julius. You touched so many people and many of us are so heartbroken. But we take comfort knowing you are out of all pain and suffering. Thank you #teamjulius for all that you have done. Your dedication and true love for animals is admirable. My heart goes out to you and all his followers.

Now Julius you have crossed the rainbow bridge and i know you are running free and feeling happy and no more Pain. You will remain in our hearts forever beautiful precious Julius. I pray for your momma Kesi too!! I know she will miss you so much. I love you Julius forever and ever!

Cynthia Johnson Very Sad to hear this news. So many loved Julius and we're praying for a better outcome. Praising such dedication, love and expertise from the staff that worked so tirelessly on his behalf! Praying for everyone involved to be at peace during a difficult time

Cynthia Johnson Very Sad to hear this news. So many loved Julius and we're praying for a better outcome. Praising such dedication, love and expertise from the staff that worked so tirelessly on his behalf! Praying for everyone involved to be at peace during a difficult time

Melanie Zuke Neuhauser My heart aches for his team. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for all your hard work and the amazing amount of love that was shown during this time. Hugs to Kesi, who must be so distraught without her baby.

Lindsay Jacks My heart goes out to the keeper staff, vet team, and zoos across the country that helped this calf and tried to fight an uphill battle from the beginning. It was a difficult decision to make but the last act of kindness and care we can provide as animal care professionals at the very end. Everyone that cared for this giraffe is in my thoughts today.

       

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Joan Hamilton I'm so very sorry for everyone who has tried so hard to save him. You have done everything humanely possible to help him but sometimes nature is too powerful. Julius enjoyed love and care in his short life that he never would have experienced in the wild. He has taught us many lessons in his short life. RIP Julius.

Michelle Anne Lanasa Fitzgerald I am so sorry for your loss. The animal keepers at the Maryland zoo are one of the most dedicated and caring groups I have ever seen. They always go above and beyond. You are wonderful. My heart goes out to you at this time.

Paula Bowers So very sad. We are sure the team did everything possible for Julius. Our giraffe family group is heart broken. RIP sweet Julius and may Max, the camel, welcome you over the rainbow bridge. This is so very difficult but our family will rally together and give each other strength.

Stephanie Hollenbeck Awww I am so very sorry to hear this most devastating news. Julius got to feel love and that is so important in his short life. My heart is breaking for you all that tried so hard to save him, Bless you all. Rest in Paradise you beautiful little boy. So very, very sad. 

Sherrie Russell-Hora To the Julius care team. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know it's been exhausting and you guys did everything humanly possible to get Julius better but I guess God had other plans for him up in heaven. RIP Dear Julius.

Even though we didn't get to see your precious face in person we at least got to see you and know your through the Zoos web sight. My heart aches for everyone who took care of you. Love you precious boy

Jeanette Sellers Bingel This update makes me so incredibly sad but Julius could not have had a better team on his side!! Thank you for everything you did for him, for what you continue to do for this species and all your species at the Zoo.

I'm glad you can use the information that you gathered from this tragic event to help future calves and keep Julius' memory alive. Your dedication and love is awe inspiring. Much love to you all as you try and work through the grief process.

Sarah Khristan My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Maryland zoo team. It's clear that everything that could possibly be done was done. As a member of the zoo, and an animal lover, there's nothing harder than to lose a little one. Thank you for your efforts, and we're so very sorry for the loss of dear Julius

Gregory Weidman This is terribly sad, though not unexpected, news. The positive side has been the incredible care, concern, resourcefulness, compassion, and love shown by the team at the zoo who did everything in their power to save this little animal.

From all of us who care about their welfare, we send heartfelt thanks for all your efforts. With sincerest sympathy!

Kris Bush I am so sorry to hear this news. Although deep in my heart I was kind of expecting it. Julius was a fighter, but in the end, even the strongest can only fight so much 
Thank you The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore for your round the clock care and countless hours you gave Julius. He knew he was loved. Even though we didn't get that end result we all hoped and prayed for, your compassion and loving care towards Julius has not gone unnoticed. 

Although my heart is sad to hear this news, I am trying to picture Julius romping around like a baby giraffe should be, in the beautiful fields above. Even though he was only on this Earth for 4 weeks, his legacy and name will never be forgotten. RIP little Julius, run and romp in those golden fields.

Donna Parolisi DiOrio I am so heartbroken to hear this rest in peace sweet Julius.. Thank you for the team of caretakers that did their best for our sweet baby ..Don't worry Julius my son is waiting for you. Sleep in peace sweet angel

Yvonne Blimline Is Julius the same baby giraffe that we followed for months for his mom to give birth? Giraffes are such beautiful animals. I am so sorry for his loss and for the wonderful zoo people who have worked to save him.

Janet Spink Tears, tears tears. Following this little one's care in aiding the fight for survival is heart breaking. So sorry for the loss to the care givers and the Baltimore Zoo. Yes it will stay in our minds and heart for a long time, especially since there has been an abundance of killing these animals in the wild for trophies. RIP Julius.

Jenn Bernstein Kurzmiller We are all grieving with you. Truly a little fighter until the very end. Thank you for doing everything you can for Julius. It was obvious you all loved him and so did many others. He touched many lives in his few short weeks on this earth. Rest easy sweet boy

Laura Seiler The first photo I saw of Julius; the immediate thought that came to me was, "what a little angel face." Now this little angel's spirit has moved on. I wish he could have stayed with us for many years but nature has its own will. I hope Kesi doesn't suffer too terribly from this loss.

Thank you to the care team, vets and the other zoos – everyone came together with actions, care, donations and prayers. Keep Julius' spirit and memory alive by caring for and being respectful of animals

Donna Murphy Just heartbreaking! Thank you to TeamJulius for EVERYTHING you've done during his short life to help heal him! I'm sure he felt your love and support the entire time and was a good part of what made him push to fight each day!
Our thoughts and prayers are with the ENTIRE Maryland Zoo as you morn the loss of your sweet boy! Thank you for letting us in and sharing what you do day to day to help all of the animals at the zoo and abroad! Hugs!

Jenny Szulinski Thank you so much Maryland Zoo for your love, expertise and commitment to these amazing animals. Losing Julias is heartbreaking but I will never forget how he brought a community together with an outpouring of love and support. God bless you all.

We’ve set up an online memory store for Julius so that giraffe lovers all over the world who fell in love with our little calf

JuliusTeam` Store Available Now, You Can Order:  Here 

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