Baby giraffe Zuri and her mother at the Cincinnati Zoo after she broke her leg. (Courtesy of the zoo on Friday, May 20, 2011)
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Cincinnati Zoo mourns loss of baby giraffe 'Zuri'

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CIncinnati - The Cincinnati Zoo announced today with great sadness the loss of its three-month-old giraffe, Zuri. Zoo veterinarians noticed Zuri's fractured leg had become more unstable earlier this week, which prompted the medical procedure today. During the examination, vets determined that Zuri had done further damage to the fracture site on her leg. The fracture was not healing as expected and staff were unfortunately presented with the worst case scenario and made the difficult decision to euthanize Zuri.

Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo, says they are heartbroken.

"In my 34 years of working with animals I have never felt such a tremendous blow," said Maynard. "In just three short months Zuri captured the heart of our community and was deeply loved by everyone at the Zoo."

Zuri broke her leg on May 19 and over the last six weeks received the best care available as Zoo staff worked tirelessly, casting, examining and re-casting Zuri on three separate occasions.

Dave Oehler, Director of Animal Collections, says they had no other choice.

"With the absence of hope for her long-term recovery, we had to make the difficult and painful decision to euthanize Zuri," said Oehler. "Decisions like that are made based on the animal's quality of life. The undeniable pain this has caused our staff and community is a testament to the impact Zuri had on us all. She will not be forgotten."

Zuri's mother, Tessa and father, Kimba, remain together at Giraffe Ridge.

Copyright Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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