We’re heartbroken to share that southern cassowary Juliet was unexpectedly found deceased in her habitat this morning.
A necropsy revealed severe inflammation in Juliet’s small intestine, which apparently led to the development of a disease known as coelomitis in her body cavity.
Juliet did not exhibit any external symptoms of illness, and the cause of the inflammation is not yet known. Tissue samples have been sent to a pathological laboratory for additional study, which could yield more clues about Juliet’s ailments.
Juliet hatched at a private facility in 2015 and arrived at the Zoo two years later as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Southern Cassowary Species Survival Plan.
Lands of Change: Australia and Beyond keepers describe Juliet as an intelligent, energetic bird who enjoyed interacting with her caretakers.
“Juliet loved target training and constantly wowed us with her jumping abilities,” said Kristen Gagnon, one of Juliet’s caretakers. “Juliet’s favorite resting spot was her pond, and often all we could see of her was the top of her casque—which looked like a shark fin sticking out of the water.
“She was adored by everyone who had the privilege to work with her, and we will all remember her fondly.”