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8-year-old giraffe who suffered from abdominal distension suddenly dies at Maryland Zoo

Anuli, an 8-year-old giraffe, unexpectedly died Wednesday night at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, officials said.

The giraffe was seen on camera awkwardly trying to lie down, Erin Grimm, the zoo’s mammal collection and conservation manager, said in a Thursday news release. Zoo staff “quickly mobilized” within 20 minutes, but by the time they arrived Anuli was dead, she said.

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Anuli had been under treatment since October for episodes of abdominal distension, specifically of her rumen, the first stomach of a ruminant which is where microbial fermentation takes place.

“We were able to diagnose this condition with voluntary ultrasound training, as well as monitor her health with voluntary blood draws,” Dr. Ellen Bronson, senior director of animal health, conservation, and research, said in the release. “She had been under treatment with dietary modifications, and medical treatments and we had been able to manage her quite well in the past few months. However, the condition is not fully treatable and we believe that it played a role in her sudden death.”

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A necropsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of death. The results might take several months, the release said.

“We are stunned by this sudden loss,” Kirby Fowler, president and CEO of the Maryland Zoo said in the release. “Anuli was an integral part of the giraffe herd, and has been a favorite of staff and visitors alike since she arrived here in 2013.”

Andrew Grulich of Towson holds his daughter, Evie Rose Grulich, 2, as she feeds Anuli, a 1 1/2-year-old reticulated giraffe, at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
Andrew Grulich of Towson holds his daughter, Evie Rose Grulich, 2, as she feeds Anuli, a 1 1/2-year-old reticulated giraffe, at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun)
Anuli eats leaves from a new program that has begun providing the zoo’s animals with branches that have been trimmed from healthy trees by electric utility crews. (Courtesy Maryland Zoo in Baltimore)
Anuli eats leaves from a new program that has begun providing the zoo’s animals with branches that have been trimmed from healthy trees by electric utility crews. (Courtesy Maryland Zoo in Baltimore) (HANDOUT)
Rhea Comninos of Baltimore and Anuli, then 1 1/2, watch each other. Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun
Rhea Comninos of Baltimore and Anuli, then 1 1/2, watch each other. Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun)

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