On Friday, the Houston Zoo euathanized two-month old baby giraffe Yao Ming, stating that the calf was facing a life filled with intense, arthritic bone pain due to an incurable bone infection.
The vets and other officials working at the zoo told the Houston Chronicle that euthanization was the most humane options.
"In the long run, it was definitely the right decision. We don't want to see the animal suffer and go through chronic pain," said veterenarion Dr. Wyatt Winchell.
Baby Yao Ming, a male Masai giraffe, was born on February 25, 2013. He was named after former Houston Rockets all-star basketball player Yao Ming. Yao (the basketball player) has spent much of his post-playing days raising awareness about animal poaching. He has worked on adding global visibility into the illegal elephant and rhino poaching trade in Africa, and the legal, but very environment-unfriendly shark fin trade in Asia. Working with the company WildAid, Yao has called for a ban on shark fin soup in China.
As for Yao Ming the giraffe, he had a hard, short life. The baby giraffe had to have surgery to remove infected bone from its right shoulder early on. Then, its rear leg became infected. Although the leg was apparently healing in recent, Winchell stated that the infection had caused a chain reaction of insurmountable health issues, including arthritis and injury to the cartilage in the hip joint.
In his last days, Yao Ming spent most of his time resting on the ground.
"Yao was truly an exceptional giraffe calf that touched the hearts of everyone that had the privilege of interacting with him," said Zoo Directo Rick Barongi.