MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami is mourning the loss of Pongo, a 12-year-old male giraffe, who was euthanized after suffering a foot fracture that could not be treated successfully, according to Zoo Miami Communications Director Ron Magill.
According to Magill, Pongo sustained a small fracture in 2019 which caused pain in his left rear hoof.
In September, Pongo was immobilized so veterinarians could perform X-rays, laser therapy and fit him with custom shoes in hopes that those combined treatments would promote the healing of the fracture and alleviate his pain.
Against difficult odds, it worked. He was walking normally again but not for long.
Several weeks after the procedure, the shoes detached and sometime following the loss of the shoes, he apparently re-injured that hoof and began to again favor it significantly.
The Animal Health team performed a series of treatments in an effort to provide Pongo with maximum comfort in the hopes that he would heal without the need to immobilize him again. Immobilizing a giraffe is an extremely risky procedure due to their size and it was agreed that another immobilization would take place only after all other options were exhausted.
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Unfortunately, none of the treatments were effective and the decision was made to immobilize Pongo Monday morning to perform detailed X-rays and hopefully be able to provide him with a successful treatment.
Sadly, the X-rays revealed Pongo had had further fractured his foot in a way that prevented the Animal Health team from being able to treat it successfully and the painful decision was made to euthanize him while he was still under anesthesia.
Pongo was born in February of 2009 at the Denver Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in November of the same year. Pongo was the tallest giraffe in the Zoo Miami herd and was a favorite at the Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station.
Magill said Pongo will be terribly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and the privilege of working with him.