Kansas City Zoo mourning loss of Masai giraffe, Lizzie

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Courtesy: Kansas City Zoo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A sad day at the Kansas City Zoo Thursday as they announce the passing of their Masai giraffe, Lizzie.

Lizzie was 8-years-old and was born at the Kansas City Zoo in 2012 to mom Mahali, who remains at the zoo.

Lizzie had become a mother twice herself, to Dixie in 2018 and Chandy in 2019.

Her caregivers said she was a fantastic mom, very smart and had really become a leader of the herd.

The zoo said Lizzie had been having gastrointestinal issues for several months and staff had been doing all they possibly could to help her feel better including supplemental nutrition and ongoing treatment.

“Our veterinary team had also been consulting with large animal specialists on the best course of treatment for Lizzie,” the zoo said in a statement Thursday. “Unfortunately, her health worsened last week and the difficult decision was made that she should be humanely euthanized.”

The zoo said a necropsy was performed at the zoo to help determine Lizzie’s specific medical issues. While it may take six weeks or more to receive the full results of those tests, initial findings support the diagnosis that Lizzie had rumenitis, an inflammation in the stomach.

Lizzie had contracted salmonella, which was likely a contributing factor to the rumenitis.

The zoo said the precise strain of salmonella is being determined by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory.

“It is common, however, in the wild birds, reptiles, and other animals that live natively in and around this area,” the zoo said. “Dixie died of rumenitis about two months ago, and also had salmonella, which makes this loss even more difficult.”

The other giraffe in the herd have tested negative for salmonella and are not showing any symptoms of this same ailment but are being closely monitored.

The Kansas City Zoo is working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Giraffe Species Survival Plan to determine if any other steps should be taken to ensure the health and safety of our giraffe herd.

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