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A 6-year-old female Masai giraffe was euthanized Saturday at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo due to her rapidly declining health condition. Animal keepers found her lying on the floor of the giraffe barn early Saturday morning.

“Shirley” was suffering from complications following the birth of her first calf on October 28 including a severe uterine infection that progressed into septicemia. The Zoo’s veterinary and animal care staff members had been aggressively treating the infection for two weeks.

The female calf was born several weeks premature and it failed to thrive despite the best efforts of the veterinary and animal care staff members.

It was the first offspring for Shirley and the second for the 5-year-old father, Travis.

Shirley was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2005. She is the daughter of Lindi, 26, who still resides in Cleveland and just had her eighth calf in July, and Walker, who now lives at the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky.

Six giraffes remain in the Zoo’s African Savanna exhibit including females Lindi, Jhasmin, Jada and Grace, and males Travis and Trevor.

Giraffes are native to the savannas of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Masai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) are found in Kenya and Tanzania, near the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Giraffes are the tallest mammals, with males capable of reaching heights up to 18 feet tall. Giraffes can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They have long, prehensile tongues, which are bluish purple, which they use to strip the leaves from tree branches in the wild. Giraffes typically live 15-20 years in the wild and a few years longer in captivity.

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News

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