Brookfield Zoo euthanizes baby antelope born on Valentine's Day due to birth defect

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sometimes the Circle of Life is short.

Last Thursday, which was Valentine's Day, the Brookfield Zoo welcomed a Kirk's dik-dik. The male calf weighed in at just over 23 ounces and was named Valentino.

Kirk's dik-diks are one of the smallest antelopes in the world and are native to Africa. Their coloring varies depending on habitat, but they all have "striking dark eyes," as the zoo put it, and a special self-cooling system built into their snouts to withstand extreme temperatures.

Zookeepers planned to introduce Valentino to solid foods at a week old. Sadly, the little antelope never reached that point.

Veterinarians discovered a severe birth defect that affected Valentino's ability to swallow normally, Sondra Katzen, director of public relations for the zoo, told ABC7 Eyewitness News. The condition was so severe that he would not have been able to survive, and surgery was not an option.

Veterinarians made the difficult decision to euthanize Valentino out of concerns for his quality of life.
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