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Franklin Park Zoo staff mourns the loss of Beau the giraffe

beauThe staff at Franklin Park Zoo is saddened to report that Beau the giraffe died earlier today.

The 18-year-old giraffe had been in declining health for some time and was being closely monitored by the Zoo’s veterinary and Animal Care departments. Due to his continued declining health, the zoo staff made the decision to humanely euthanize him for quality of life reasons.

“The veterinary and animal care staff takes extraordinary care of the animals in our collection. We have treated Beau for a number of health issues through the years, and unfortunately over the past year he has not responded positively to the treatment plans we have implemented and his health has continued to decline. This is a sad day for all of us,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Vice President of Animal Health and Conservation Medicine.

Throughout the past year, Beau had lost weight and his body condition had deteriorated. Despite normal appetite and diet changes to increase the protein and fat content, Beau continued to lose significant weight. More recently, he was also lethargic and unsteady. Due to all of his health issues, Beau had not been on exhibit this season to allow staff to closely monitor him.

 “Beau was beloved by staff and visitors alike. So many of us had a close personal relationship with him. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy lives on through all of the offspring he fathered with his longtime mate Jana,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “He was an incredible ambassador for his species and brought smiles to the faces of so many who had the chance to meet him up close. We feel honored to have had the opportunity to care for him for so many years and through his story educate people of all ages about these truly majestic animals.”

Beau made successful recoveries from two significant health issues in the past – a wasting syndrome in 2003 and a urinary obstruction in 2012. The knowledge gained from treating and caring for Beau all of these years will assist other veterinarians and specialists in their care of giraffes.

He will continue to contribute to the scientific understanding of giraffes for years to come as his remains will have a permanent home at the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Zoo New England has been an active participant in the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. Through the years, Beau, who has lived at Franklin Park Zoo since 1999, and his mate Jana have successfully produced six offspring. Their youngest, one-year-old Amari, also resides at Franklin Park Zoo.