Zoo Miami officials announced they had to euthanize one of their giraffes Monday morning after months of attempting to treat an injury in his left rear hoof.
Pongo, who was nearly 12 years old, suffered extreme pain from a previously sustained small fracture in his hoof and was immobilized back in September, Zoo Miami's Ron Magill said in a news release.
For months, a team of veterinarians and several experts gave Pongo a series of treatments, including laser therapy and custom-fitted shoes, in an attempt to alleviate the pain. At one point, Pongo was able to walk normally but was re-injured several weeks later.
The health team tried other options to help Pongo and tried to avoid immobilizing him again, since immobilizing a giraffe is very risky due to their size. But Pongo was immobilized once again after the team exhausted all of their treatment options.
"Sadly, the X-rays revealed that within the last two weeks he 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," Magill said.
Pongo was born in February 2009 at the Denver Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami that November. Since then, he had grown to become the tallest giraffe in the Zoo Miami herd and a guest favorite.
"He will be terribly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him and the privilege of working with him," Magill said.