Wellington Zoo staff and volunteers were saddened today by the passing of the Zoo’s male Giraffe Seun.
Seun was 6 years old and came to Wellington Zoo from Orana Wildlife Park in April 2008.
Seun had been treated by the veterinary team at The Nest Te Kō hanga for laminitis, a painful condition in his hoof for the past 5 weeks. Over the past week his condition had worsened and this morning he was anaesthetised for x-rays to determine the best course of action.
During today’s procedure, x-rays showed that Seun had a severely infected toe on his right hoof. After consulting with experts from Massey University the Wellington Zoo veterinary team decided to remove the infected toe. This procedure has been done before in domestic cattle but had never been attempted on a giraffe.
Though the toe was successfully removed, unfortunately Seun did not recover from the anaesthetic and passed away today just after 5pm.
“We have lost a special animal. Seun was well loved by Zoo staff, volunteers, and visitors alike and his passing gives us great sadness.” said Wellington Zoo Chief Executive, Karen Fifield.
“Giraffes are notoriously difficult to anaesthetise and although we gave him the best chance we could, Seun did not survive the procedure, which was more than five hours long.”
“The Wellington Zoo team showed amazing professionalism, resilience, team work and ultimate care for Seun’s welfare through the whole episode. I am extremely proud of them.”
“We are grateful for the expert assistance that Dr Vicki Walsh, a specialist veterinary anaesthetist and her team from Massey University provided today during the procedure. We are also thankful for advice and assistance provided today by Massey University’s Dr Angela Hartman, Dr Jim Schumache, Dr Richard Laven, Dr Stu Hunter, and their respective teams.”
Seun will be buried offsite in accordance with Ministry of Primary Industry regulations that require a deep burial for biosecurity reasons. In the past we have been able to bury onsite but due to regulatory changes this unfortunately is no longer an option for us. The only suitable location for this is the Wellington Landfill which has an area dedicated to this purpose.