A five-month-old giraffe from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park was euthanized at the end of last month, after suffering a gruesome stomach injury likely inflicted by an antelope.
On the morning of Dec. 29, zookeepers discovered Kumi the giraffe in his East Africa field habitat with a gore wound to his belly, the San Diego Zoo explained in a statement on their Facebook.
Officials at the zoo believe that Kumi was injured by an antelope living in same quarters, as many species who would naturally live together in the wild often co-exist in their Safari Park habitats. Living in close quarters can sometimes lead to inter-species encounters, the zoo said.
Because of the severity of Kumi’s injury, a team of veterinarians made the difficult decision to put the baby giraffe down.
Speaking to the San Diego Union-Tribune following the incident, zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons explained that although they knew Kumi’s wound was consistent with being gored by an antelope, they were unable to confirm any specific details.
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Simmons explained that nobody witnessed the “rare incident,” and while giraffe mothers often protect their young, the location of Kumi’s mother and the other giraffes was unknown at the time.
She also noted that giraffes and antelopes typically get along in the wild, helping and communicating with each other in the case of threats or external attacks.
Because of this, the animals were living together in the zoo’s habitat, mimicking a regulated wildlife environment — but Simmons said they were careful about how much they interfered with the experience.
“In natural habitats, animals are faced with stress. They’re eaten by predators, they run into challenges. We protect them a great deal in human-managed environments,” she told the local newspaper. “But we do recognize that when you’re working toward conserving a species, you have to provide them with some of the same kinds of things they would normally experience in their natural habitat.”
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“It’s a balan