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Giraffe was killed, not deceased: Zoo union alleges

09 Dec 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      


  • The giraffe had suffered from an infection in its hoof
  • The union insists that the higher management of the Zoological Department should bear responsibility for the giraffe’s death

By Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama

The female giraffe at the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwala had died on Thursday (7), However, the President of the Sri Lanka Podujana Zoological Garden Employees’ Union Krishantha Christopher alleges that the animal was killed.

Addressing the media, Krishantha Christopher said that giraffes are classified as critically endangered animals. He mentioned that the giraffes in the Dehiwala Zoo received special attention from the department, symbolized by a spotlight on their conservation efforts.

The union leader said that the giraffe’s death was not a natural death but a result of harm. The demise of this animal represents a significant setback for the Dehiwala Zoo.

“The union has lodged numerous complaints with the ministry, urging the removal of an unqualified veterinary doctor from the Dehiwala zoo to safeguard the well-being of the animals.

 Regrettably, our pleas went unanswered; consequently, a female giraffe has met an untimely end,” he expressed.
In the absence of attention and accountability for such incidents within the zoological department, there is a growing risk of losing more animals each day. Urgent action must be taken, and the immediate removal of the veterinary doctor from the zoo is crucial.

In the event that the government fails to address and rectify this situation by taking necessary action against the veterinary doctors, the administration is prepared to initiate a sustained trade union action without delay.
The union insists that the higher management of the Zoological Department should bear responsibility for the giraffe’s death.

Contrastingly, the Director General of the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens, Ranjan Marasinghe, attributes the demise of one of the two female giraffes to a suspected allergy. He disclosed that the animal had been grappling with an infection in one of its front leg hoofs, and there is speculation that antibiotics administered might have played 
a role.

Marasinghe said that the actual cause of death remains unknown until the postmortem report is received. The giraffe reportedly suffered the infection over the past week, and an allergic reaction to antibiotics is believed to have led to its death.

The postmortem, conducted with the collaboration of officials from the Veterinary Department, the Wildlife office, and a Zoological Department officer, aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the death. The Director General has requested an independent committee, appointed by the Wild Life Secretary, to investigate any admission issues or other factors contributing to the incident.

The giraffe, which had resided in the Dehiwala Zoo for nearly 30 years, faced speculation from some zoo workers who claim to have witnessed the administration of two vials during the injection process. This has led to concerns that the giraffe might have been accidentally overdosed.

Meanwhile, Krishantha Christopher, President of the Sri Lanka Podujana Zoological Garden Employees’ Union, reiterated the critical status of giraffes as endangered animals. He also highlighted the department’s acknowledgement of this by symbolizing their efforts with a bright light focused on the giraffe enclosure.