Friday, March 7, 2014

Zoo Loses Young Giraffe Mom

After the loss of my Precious Friend Wakoda, I stopped posting Memorials.  There have been many losses since, each one Hurts my Heart.  I write about the passing of Female Giraffe Carolina, because I am shocked and very upset by things I witnessed over the past couple weeks.  It is not my intention to sensationalize by writing about this, but I feel strongly about documenting my personal observations.

It is no secret within my writing that I have little faith in the ability of the Hoofstock Staff (except for one, Keeper Ingrid who took care of my Precious Friend Goober).  Decisions made about the care and housing of the Duikers, Blackbuck and Black Rhinos are issues I have written about the most.  Once again, Hoofstock curiosities surround this Sad news.

I still haven't written about my Valentines Day Outting, but I was lucky enough to be there that day, which was the first day Willow and her Calf were out of the Barn.   All the other Females came by the Corral to see them.  I immediately noticed Carolina's Ears were way down, almost flat to the side of her Head.  I took photos because I thought is was unusual.  Two days later when I visited, the same thing.

Over the next two weeks, I visited five times and each time, her Ears were down and for the whole extended visit I was there.  I don't usually talk to the Giraffe Keepers as none are very friendly to me and a few times gave complete lies as answers to my questions.  I did note this concern to those I was with, as well as a Volunteer in the Animal Dept.  Friends thought it was odd, others either didn't know or didn't think it was of concern.

Last Monday (the 24th) Carolina was off the Savannah and in the Corral with Willow and her Calf.   Isolating her made me think there was an issue.  In hindsight I should have sought out a Keeper and asked why, just to have "their" answer to fall back on now.

At the time, I was bothered by two things.

It seems almost every time I visit the Giraffes, I see the Keepers coming in and out of the Barn, going on break.  I know this because most of the time they have Coffee cups in hand.  Notice I write they, as because most of the time as well there is more than one.  I know reading this it would seem like, who am I to pick on this, because I of course do not work there, I do not make the schedule, I do not know what the work load dictates.  I am noting things purely as I see them, as someone observing.  It just seems like bad Management, with so many Animals and limited Keepers, that utilizing one in each area at a time would best serve to keeping an eye on the Animals, but that's just my opinion.  So, this always bothers me.  If I'm seeing this at all the random times I visit, just how often are these Keepers on break?  How often is someone there checking on the Animals?

On this Monday, there were three Keepers who came and went as a trio, holding Coffee Cups, laughing and chatting, like there was not a care in their world.  In hindsight, there was a care, at least to me and in my world.  In hindsight, Carolina was obviously separated because there was something wrong. WHY was there no one observing her?  There was plenty of Keepers available.  There are Volunteers, Docents, shouldn't someone have been observing her and whatever the concern was?  For that matter, where's the Hoofstock Curator and other Animal Management Staff?  They all knew something wasn't right with her, yet no one was there observing her.

The other thing that always bothers me is the way the food is distributed.  There is always browse (leafy branches) on the ground outside the Animals and none for them to eat, most every time I when the Keepers are going on break.  They leave to have a snack while the Giraffes have nothing to eat.  I often observe them trying to reach over and grab the food they see sitting there.  Willow who is very tall can do this, but the others efforts go unsatisfied.  On this particular Monday, the sight was really sad.  When the Keepers came back they finally put some food in the Corral for Willow, the Calf and Carolina.  One of my friends noticed Carolina go for food like she starving and actually said that as she hadn't visited Giraffes in awhile and noted that Carolina looked really thin.  I have visited and didn't notice the weight difference.  I was preoccupied with her Ears.  After feeding them in the Corral, the Keepers left again!, leaving those on the Savannah with no food.   Bititi desperatley tried to reach the Browse on the outside but couldn't, so started eating bits of weeds.  

Sadly, I have no idea what happened to Carolina.  All I know is she is gone and the Zoo hasn't said anything. What I do know, is things never seem right in the Hoofstock Dept and the chain of events with Carolina are curious.   Ears down, separated, no one observing her, and the food scarfing.  As well one of my friends who visited on Thursday of that week said the Barn was closed, curtains up, and Carolina not outside.  Vet Staff and Keepers rushing to Barn.  By Monday, the curtains were down and Carolina was gone.  No one has an answer as to what happened.  Everything is always such a secret there.  Secrets breed more curiosity and eventual suspicion.

Its all extremely Sad.  I'm heartbroken for her Daughter Erin, not even a year old and for her Giraffe Family she left behind.  She was young, about to turn Twelve on April 13th.  What happened?  Will we ever know?   

RIP Carolina and all the Zoo Friends who I haven't mentioned, but touched my Heart the same.


  1. This is highly concerning, the giraffes are not being well kept for, 12 is middle age for a giraffe, but still unnaturally young for death in captivity. She must have been probably sick, or else this would not have happened. This should not have happened if she was well cared for. On another note for giraffes, I found this on Wikipedia: "A giraffe eats around 34 kg (75 lb) of foliage daily.[24] When stressed, giraffes may chew the bark off branches." The keepers are obviously not caring for the giraffes properly if they keep "begging" for food and licking the walls of the giraffe barn for salt. The zoo's giraffes are stressed and require professional care.

    1. @ellicruu Thank you for your comment. From what you've written it sounds like you have had some previous thoughts/insight about the Giraffes prior to this. ... As for them "not being well cared for" that is my opinion and it is not just them. ... Thank you for the additional Wiki info. I was going to write in my post, but forgot, but to me it does seem like browse is akin to lettuce, so having it always available shouldn't be a health/weight issue. That said, I don't know the stats on how much they get fed, but for seven Giraffes, I can't imagine the Zoo is feeding them 500 lbs of food a day. Also interesting you note about the salt. I read this article last night while researching something else on the Zoo and it stated someting about the "bark" and other behvior issues. I was actually surprised that someone found fault with the design of the Savannah. That all said, I'm not sure the salt licking is a concern? Many Hoofstock Animals have those salt blocks, so it is something they like and need. ...

  2. Posting for my Friend Joanne:
    Very sad news and I hope eventually we will find out what happened. Poor Erin and Carolina.

    1. @Joanne Thank you for your commenting and continued effort to do so, even when blogger doesn't want you to! I want you to! ... This is still so very upsetting. The things I saw, the Zoo being so secretive, its all too curious and makes the loss even worse. I feel awful for Erin.

  3. Lee "a tigers best friend"March 8, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    My heart is broken over the untimely and extremely unusual death of precious Kristin(Carolina). What a beautiful and very gentle lady she was and will always have a place in my heart. I am the one that noticed how thin she was, extremely thin and very very very hungry. She had her head deep into the alfafa bin and wouldnt take her head out til it was gone. I saw keepers (two of them) heading in and out for coffee twice in the two hours I was there and not one glanced at the giraffes...they headed inside with their damned latte's... geez..... two coffee breaks in two hours? with sick animals that should be watched? I also am very concerned that they have all the acacia on the other side of the fence just teasing the giraffes when they try to get to it....they usually do just end up licking the barn for whatever nutrients they can muster. Another concern I have is that if they knew Kristin was ill....why was she sharing a small area with a newborn calf? What if there was something contagious???? Again, it's that damed hoofstock group yet again...letting these animals pass on far before their time. God Bless your precious and beautiful heart Miss Kristin.... I love you and will always have you in my heart. I truly hope and pray that you were not in pain.

  4. @Lee- Thank you for your comment and additional observations. .. You are right about the passing before their time. I think now of the Female Kudu and her calf who both died, I think it was a coupel weeks before the second calf was born. I think of poor Mishaki, who passed at Twenty-Four and the Zoo lied and told the Media he was 41. Who knows if and when they finally make this public what story they will tell. We will never know the truth because they make stuff up and there are no outside necropcies to prove any different. ... They knew that she wasn't feeling well and like we both said,they still didn't pay attention to her and her needs. I too hope she wasn't in pain, but its curious that the Staff was seen rushing into the Barn on Thursday but she supposedly didn't pass til Sunday. Have to think she wasn't doing well those three days and that couldn't have been comfortable for her. RIP Lovely Lady.


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