Kumi, a baby giraffe at San Diego Safari Park, euthanized after vicious attack by antelope, say authorities
A five-month-old baby giraffe from the San Diego Zoo had to be euthanized after it was viciously attacked and mauled by another animal toward the end of last month. The gruesome stomach injury on the giraffe seems to be caused as a result of an antelope attack.
On the morning of December 29, zookeepers found Kumi, the baby giraffe, lying in his East Africa field habitat with a horrible wound to his belly, the San Diego Zoo shared in a statement which they released on Facebook. According to zoo officials, Kumi was injured by an antelope staying in the same quarters as many species living in the wild together also co-exist with one another in the Safari Parks.
The zoo also shared that when living in proximity, inter-species encounters can take place as is the case here. Given how severe Kumi's injuries were, a team of vets had to make the incredibly hard decision to euthanize the baby giraffe. While speaking to the San Diego Union-Tribune, a spokesperson for the zoo, Christina Simmons, shared that they knew Kumi's wounds were consistent with being gored by an antelope.
She further explained how no one else had been around to witness the accident and though mother giraffes often protect their babies when they are young, Kumi's mother and other giraffes were nowhere around at the time of the "rare incident".
Simmons also shared that giraffes and antelopes normally get along in the wild and help and communicate with each other in case of external threats or attacks.
Due to this reason, the animals were all living together in the zoo and had a regulated wildlife environment. Simmons said that they used to be very careful so as to not interfere much and keep the interference to a minimum.
Simmons added, "In natural habitats, animals are faced with stress. They’re eaten by predators, they run into challenges. 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," she continued. "It’s a balancing act."
"Animals that live in African plains, particular the big hoofed animals, normally live in multi-species groups. And so we work to maintain those animals in the Safari Park in those same herds, keeping them either with the same species or with very similar species. I’ve been to Africa myself, and you see a lot of interaction between the different herds," she continued.
Simmons added that Kumi's death will be reported to the proper regulatory agencies. At present, giraffes are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.