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3.5-Year-Old Brookfield Zoo Dolphin Dies Unexpectedly

Maxine, a bottlenose dolphin at Brookfield Zoo. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)Maxine, a bottlenose dolphin at Brookfield Zoo. (Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

Maxine, a 3.5-year-old bottlenose dolphin at Brookfield Zoo, died unexpectedly earlier this month due to complications from an acute bacterial infection, the zoo announced Tuesday.

The dolphin died June 2, but the zoo wanted to determine the cause of death before announcing it publicly. A diagnostic test performed after the dolphin’s death showed that the infection quickly caused her organs to fail, the zoo said.

“Despite the tireless efforts of our animal care staff, sadly, Maxine succumbed to the aggressive disease,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the zoo, in a statement.

Zeigler said Maxine’s death is an isolated case and poses no danger to the zoo’s other dolphins. As a precautionary measure, the zoo conducted health screenings of its other dolphins, confirming there are no risks, he said.

(Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)(Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society)

“Maxine’s death has been devastating to all of the Chicago Zoological Society family, and she will be greatly missed,” he said.

The dolphin’s death comes two months after the zoo decided to euthanize Ramar, a beloved 50-year-old western lowland gorilla who was suffering from diminished bowel function.

Two dolphin calves died shortly after being born at the zoo in 2014. In 2011, a 4-year-old dolphin died after fracturing her skull during an accidental collision with another dolphin.

Contact Alex Ruppenthal: @arupp aruppenthal@wttw.com | (773) 509-5623


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