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Thursday, July 21, 2011

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Denver, the surviving giraffe at Reid Park Zoo, is in guarded but stable condition after eating toxic plants that killed a companion giraffe earlier this week.

“She’s doing good this morning, not perfect,” said Vivian VanPeenen, the zoo’s curator of education. “We still have her in the barn and under watch. She is as good, if not better than last night.”

The 20-year-old female giraffe is drinking water and walking through the stalls. Though she’s not eating, her kidneys and bowels seem to be functioning, VanPeenen said.

“Our goal is to get her to choose to eat and drink as much as possible. Right now it is a wait and watch.”

Denver and the zoo’s lone male giraffe, 6-year-old Watoto, were fed toxic oleander cuttings Monday night by an apprentice zookeeper. The poisoning was discovered Tuesday morning when the regular keeper found oleander remnants in the stalls, said Jim Schnormeier, general curator at Reid Park. Emergency veterinary measures were taken, but later that day Watoto’s heart stopped, according to zoo officials.

The zoo’s two other giraffes, Elinor and Texas, were not fed the toxic plants.

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