Kimba, a beloved 12-year-old giraffe that resided in the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, has died.
According to a statement shared on the zoo’s website Monday, the Zoo Volunteer Observer (ZVO) team had been monitoring the giraffe barn for weeks and called vets when they saw Kimba had fallen to the ground at 1 a.m. Sunday.
Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of mammals Christina Gorsuch said that the giraffe team was “devastated” in the wake of Kimba’s death.
“He had been dealing with pain related to chronic lameness since last summer, and we were looking forward to him feeling better after he had a successful procedure last week to fix his hooves,” she said. “Unfortunately, there were complications following the procedure. We’ll know more after the vets complete a necropsy.”
One week prior to Kimba’s death, the zoo revealed on its website that giraffe foot specialist Steve Foxworth gave Kimba a thorough hoof trim to address mobility issues that he had been experiencing for months.
“Kimba began intermittent bouts of lameness last summer, which we’ve been managing with laser therapy and medications that mitigate symptoms,” Gorsuch said on Nov. 12. “Giraffes balance a lot of weight on their extra-long legs, so we want to do everything possible to maintain foot health.”
Along with being immobilized, Kimba was also x-rayed and photographed with a thermographic camera by Foxworth, a Certified Lameness Specialist (CLS).
“The x-rays and thermographic images will help us rule out other causes of Kimba’s lameness,” Gorsuch said at the time. “The vets will take a good look at his legs, shoulders and neck to see if there’s anything unusual going on that could be the source of his discomfort. If not, the hoof trim should do the trick.”
Kimba previously sired six calves and his seventh is on the way, the statement said. Kimba came to Cincinnati in 2008 from the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP).
One of his calves, 3-year-old Cora, currently lives at the Cincinnati Zoo.