COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's baby giraffe, Penny, was euthanized on Monday following a procedure to explore a leg infection.
According to a Facebook post from the Zoo staff Monday evening, "The decision came once the team discovered several health concerns during Penny's procedure today. In addition to the abscess that had spread further into Penny’s abdomen, there were also signs that pointed to infection in the bones of at least three of her legs. Additionally, the team found a dislocated hip joint that did not present itself in the multiple X-rays taken over the past several weeks. They believe the chronic combination of the abscess, a degenerating femoral head and her need to stand awkwardly over an extended period of time led to a recent dislocation."
It also included an emotional video from members of Penny's care team who explained the decision in more detail and also shared how much the loss has impacted the staff.
Penny became the 200th giraffe born at the famous mountain zoo, and her birth was watched live online by thousands of fans on June 4.
Splaying means the animal's legs go out from under them, it can be life-threatening and has different levels of severity.
Penny was closely monitored and fitted for casts on her front legs.
The staff then discovered Penny had an abscess and were able to drain some fluid from the area.
The procedure this week at CSU in Fort Collins was to explore the extent of her injuries.
Out of respect for the keepers, the giraffe building will be closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday to allow them some privacy, according to the post.
There will be a box outside of the building for guests to leave cards for the keepers.
People came from all over Colorado to pay their respects, many leaving flowers and cards.
"We wanted to come and check to see how the mom was doing," said one zoo visitor.
"I know she's in a better place," said her son.
Musiki, Penny's mother, was kept inside the building while visitors arrived at the zoo.
Monday's post on Facebook also includes information on where memorial donations can be made.