Kumi, a 5-month-old giraffe at the San Diego Zoo, was euthanized last month after he was gored in the stomach, according to zoo officials.
“Keepers found Kumi in his East Africa field habitat in the early morning hours with a gore wound to his belly,” the zoo wrote on Facebook over the weekend. “The injury was assessed and it was determined that it could not be treated.”
Veterinarians made the “difficult decision” to put Kumi down on Dec. 29, the zoo said.
Zookeepers suspect they know what animal gored Kumi: It was “likely” an antelope that lives in the East Africa enclosure with the giraffes.
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But zoo spokeswoman Christina Simmons said that while the wound suggested an antelope was behind the goring, zookeepers lack definitive proof, Fox 5 San Diego reports.
That said, it’s all a part of what the wildlife would encounter in nature, the zoo said. The exhibit Kumi called home includes a host of other species native to the parts of Africa where a giraffe would roam, guaranteeing they interact with the same animals they would encounter in the wild.
“In natural habitats, animals are faced with stress. They’re eaten by predators, they run into challenges,” Simmons said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We protect them a great deal in human-managed environments. 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.”
Kumi was born in the zoo on Aug. 6, 2018, and was a healthy young giraffe until his injury, the Union-Tribune reports.
“Animals that live in African plains, particular the big hoofed animals, normally live in multi-species groups,” Simmons said, according to the newspaper.
Interspecies conflicts aren’t the only tension zookeepers have to worry about while tending to animals in captivity. In October, a lioness at the Indianapolis Zoo suffocated and killed the male lion who fathered three cubs with her years earlier, McClatchy reported.
That incident also came as a surprise.
“We don’t know what the precursor to the fight was,” zoo curator David Hagen said, according to WIBC. “They had been together for eight years and during that time that had done really well together.”