NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Nashville Zoo is mourning the loss of one of their beloved Masai giraffes after the animal died from complications of a leg injury on Thursday.

According to the Nashville Zoo, Rowan injured his right leg three weeks prior to his death while in an outdoor habitat. Zookeepers did not see the incident but noticed that the animal was favoring his injured leg and immediately brought him into an indoor living space to be examined by the Zoo’s veterinary team. 

The Nashville Zoo says Rowan was given various treatments over several weeks until staff reached a decision to sedate Rowan in order to closely examine the leg injury. During the examination, a veterinary team discovered bone fractures and made the difficult decision to euthanize the giraffe. 

Rowan, 3, was born in August of 2019 at The Wilds in Columbus, Ohio, and made his entrance at the Nashville Zoo in October of 2021 to be the sole male to the zoo’s existing herd of four females. 

Nashville Zoo Rowan
Source: WKRN

Nashville Zoo’s President and CEO Rick Schwartz said the Zoo is saddened to have lost such a wonderful animal like Rowan. 

“Rowan represented a bright future for our giraffe collection,” said Schwartz, “He had a lot of energy and we had hopes that he sire calves and expand out giraffe herd. Everyone here at the Zoo, especially our dedicated hoofstock keepers who have cared for him, is saddened to lose such a wonderful animal.”

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According to the Nashville Zoo, Masai giraffes are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa and have seen a 40% decline in population since 1985 due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and illegal hunting. 

Anyone wishing to honor Rowan is encouraged to contribute to the Zoo’s conservation efforts by clicking here.