Zoo Knoxville giraffe Jumbe euthanized
Zoo Knoxville representatives said Jumbe was euthanized due to declining health.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A 19-year-old giraffe at Zoo Knoxville has been euthanized due to his declining health.
Jumbe, one of the oldest giraffes in the United States, recently began exhibiting signs of pain with movement, according to Zoo Knoxville officials. While his veterinary team and caretakers from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine managed his pain with medication, a previous release stated that he had reached the maximum dosage that can be safely given to him.
Zoo officials said Jumbe had difficulty lying down to rest at night, prompting his caretakers to transition him to hospice care last week.
His care team determined that his quality of life had reached a turning point and there were no additional treatment options. As a result, Jumbe was euthanized Thursday morning with his team by his side ensuring his comfort.
“Jumbe was a gentle giant who was beloved,” said Phil Colclough, director of animal care, conservation, and education. “While making compassionate decisions are part of our job, they are still difficult and come with a lot of sadness. We know our community is grieving with us and the outpouring of stories and photos of Jumbe and what he meant to so many are both touching and comforting.”
Zoo Knoxville received Jumbe in 2011 on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to ensure a genetically healthy and protected population of giraffe remain in human care as wild populations are declining and endangered.
Both of Jumbe’s offspring, a female born in 2019, and “J.J.” and a male born in 2020, still reside at Zoo Knoxville.
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