CBS News has reported the sad news that Julius the baby Giraffe died Saturday, exactly a month after being born. In a statement by the Maryland Zoo, zookeepers and veterinarians made “Herculean” efforts to try to save him, but it wasn’t to be.

Baby giraffe had health problems from the start

According to the Maryland Zoo’s website, Julius had problems right from the start. He was born on June 15 to first-time mother, Kesi, but experienced difficulty nursing, which meant he didn’t receive the necessary antibodies against various diseases.

When Julius was first born and had problems nursing, the zoo staff had attempted to supplement his feed with a special milk formula via a bottle within 24 hours of his birth.

CBS News also reported that the baby giraffe also received two transfusions of giraffe plasma sent in by the Cheyenne Mountain and Columbus Zoos. He also had several courses of IV fluids, antibiotics, and other intensive care treatment in an attempt to boost his immune system.

Maryland Zoo expresses regret over baby giraffe's death

Don Hutchinson, the President and CEO of the zoo, said in a statement that the death of Julius has made it hard for them to put their “emotions into words.” He said the Maryland Zoo’s animal care team and veterinary staff had put their lives on hold in an attempt to nurse Julius back to good health. Hutchinson said they explored every possible avenue, but he was sadly unable to survive.

The Maryland Zoo has been posting various updates on Julius’ progress and on Friday and posted an image of the baby giraffe with a caption which said he was four weeks old and still fighting.

However, they later posted a further update to say the giraffe’s condition had gone from “critical to dire” and that Julius had a “dim outlook.” Veterinary staff had placed him on a life support central line at that stage.

An associate veterinarian at Maryland Zoo, Dr. Samantha Sander, said in a statement that the baby giraffe’s condition had taken a sharp downward turn overnight, which prompted their decision to euthanize Julius. Sander said it certainly wasn’t the outcome they were hoping for, but went on to stress that staff did everything they medically could to ensure he didn’t suffer from any distress.

Gizmodo notes that Sander said the veterinary staff will be performing a necropsy to try and determine what caused the baby giraffe’s health deficit from the start.

When making the sad announcement on Saturday, the zoo said it was a #TeamJulius update they never wanted to write. They spoke of the loss of the baby giraffe telling everyone their support has meant everything.