ZooWorld officials respond to concerns about giraffe

Local News

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Officials at ZooWorld in Panama City Beach are responding to social media posts questioning the facility’s treatment of their animals.

Most of the concerns center around a picture of a giraffe with some type of skin condition.

The picture appears to show the giraffe losing fur or skin from the backside of its legs.

ZooWorld curator, Erika Newell confirmed the giraffe named Tony is receiving treatment.

“We do have a giraffe that is being treated by our veterinary staff for giraffe skin disease it’s an ailment that affects giraffe both in the wild and under professional care,” she said.

On social media there have been accusations of ZooWorld neglecting the animal, but Newell said they don’t have anything to hide.

“When you go to a facility you may see a sick animal, but your pets get sick at home,” she said. “Our animals can sometimes get sick here at the zoos, but just because you see an animal that has an injury or may be ailing from something that does not mean that it’s not being treated.”

Newell said officials from other zoos have even reached out to ZooWorld to see how they’re treating the problem with Tony.

“Even though it sheds light on something that is going on, it’s an opportunity for us to use our expertise to help other animals out there — literally all throughout America.”

This also comes after a giraffe died at ZooWorld just six months ago.

At the time, zoo management released a statement saying the animal died from a birth defect.

However, a Facebook page with more than 3,500 followers continues to make a number of claims about the animals at ZooWorld.

There’s also a petition with nearly 1,500 signatures calling for ZooWorld’s closure.

When asked about the buzz on social media, Newell said the ZooWorld staff will answer any questions.

“Ask the professionals. We do have signage up and experts walking around all day long, she said.

Newell also said Tony is on the upswing in the healing process.

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