BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A nearly one-year-old Masai giraffe has died at the Brevard Zoo following a parasitic infection, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
“This is a significant loss for our zoo and the community at large,” Keith Winsten, the Zoo’s executive director, said in a statement.
“T-Bone was an intelligent, curious giraffe who inspired hundreds of thousands of guests during his time with us.”
According to a press release, last week, animal care staff noticed the Masai giraffe named T-Bone, who was born at the zoo on Oct. 19, 2018, was lethargic, uninterested in food and had diarrhea.
Veterinary staff discovered evidence of higher-than-normal quantities of gastrointestinal worms and anemia in blood and fecal samples. He was given antiparasitic medication and, according to staff, his condition appeared to improve.
On Thursday morning, keepers discovered T-Bone had died overnight. A necropsy confirmed his infection resulted in severe blood loss.
Gastrointestinal worms are commonly found in giraffe both in human care and the wild as part of their “gut fauna,” albeit in smaller quantities. It is not immediately clear why they were so abundant in T-Bone.
The same parasites remain present in the zoo’s other giraffe at normal levels. Although the animals are not exhibiting symptoms, keepers are keeping a close eye on their health.
The zoo is examining its parasite mitigation protocol to reduce the likelihood of a similar occurrence in the future.