An unexpected fall of a 15-year-old giraffe at the Dallas Zoo led to a tragic ending as the beloved animal was unable to recover from his injuries.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of our 15-year-old giraffe, Ferrell,” the Dallas zoo posted on Facebook.
The zoo posted that late in the day on Friday, December 29, Ferrell sustained an injury to his jaw following an unexpected fall in the barn.
According to the zoo, their animal care and veterinary teams quickly assessed his condition and determined the injury required a surgical consult.
During the procedure, the team discovered he had dislocated his jaw in such a way that surgery could not repair it, the zoo said.
“Jaw dislocations, even in smaller animals, are difficult to treat, but the size and anatomy of a giraffe hindered any type of reasonable repair. The nature of this injury meant that Ferrell would face limitations in the use of his jaw and tongue, likely requiring a partial or full amputation of his tongue in the future,” the zoo said.
Due to the prognosis, and the impact on Ferrell’s quality of life, the zoo said the team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the giraffe on New Year’s Eve.
This, unfortunately, was not Ferrell’s first injury to his jaw.
The zoo posted that Ferrell had previously sustained a jaw injury over 13 years ago, resulting in issues with his tongue.
The zoo added that despite being able to use it, Ferrell lacked the ability to hold his tongue in his mouth.
The new injury further damaged his tongue, which would have severely limited his ability to continue to use his tongue, making it nearly impossible for him to eat, the zoo said.
“This sudden loss has left us all completely heartbroken. We kindly ask that you keep our staff in your thoughts as we navigate through this challenging time. Ferrell will be dearly missed by all who knew him,” the zoo concluded.