Swift the red fox, who was rescued from Fort Lauderdale and placed in Zoo Miami six years ago, has died following a suspected liver torsion
Swift was so named due to her trait of being a "very energetic, quick girl," according to Ron Magill, the zoo's Goodwill Ambassador and communications director.
Within the past few days, Swift, who was nearly 8 years old at the time of her passing, was brought to the zoo's animal hospital for an examination, when staff noticed the animal was suffering from lethargy and appetite loss. An ultrasound exam indicated a potentially critical issue with Swift's liver.
According to the press release from Zoo Miami obtained by PEOPLE, "Emergency surgery was performed to treat what was determined to be a liver torsion where a portion of the liver had twisted around critical blood vessels that led to internal bleeding. Following corrective action to eliminate the torsion and stop the bleeding, and while still under anesthesia, Swift went into cardiac arrest."
Despite the dedicated efforts of zoo staff, the medical team at Zoo Miami was unable to resuscitate Swift.
Zookeeper Charlene Zatroch enjoyed a close relationship with the precious fox, telling PEOPLE, "Swift was a very energetic, loving animal who was always wanting to learn more and was an amazing animal to build a relationship with, if you had the privilege."
Posting about Swift's unexpected death on its official Instagram page, Zoo Miami was met with an outpouring of love from grieving animal lovers.
"I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love and light to her care team and the staff as they process this grief," wrote one follower.
"Condolences to all who loved and cared for Swift❤️," wrote another.
Swift was rescued by the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale, who deemed her non-releasable at the time, likely due to physical or psychological issues impairing her ability to survive in the wild.
She became a permanent resident of Zoo Miami more than six years ago, following her transfer from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The zoo's press release notes that because of her "calm and warm personality, Swift quickly became a favorite animal ambassador at the zoo," and was often utilized by staff to participate in educational presentations designed to help connect visitors with the environment and native wildlife.
The press release adds, "The team that was responsible for her daily care is heartbroken."
Red foxes are quite common and native to many continents including North America, Europe and Asia. They were introduced by settlers to Australia for hunting purposes in the mid-1800s.
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Incredibly adaptable to the developing world, red foxes can be found in suburban and urban settings where they are known to scavenge for food in trash cans, consuming human leftovers and food for domestic pets.
Recently, Swift enjoyed a little extra attention for National Fox Day on Sept. 17, with Zoo Miami posting about the mammal on Instagram.
"🦊 Swift, our #RedFox is looking sly with some enrichment this #NationalFoxDay!" said the message, posted alongside photos of Swift tearing into a brown paper bag with her name on it, adding, "Did you know red foxes use their tails for balance and as a warm blanket during chilly nights? #WildFacts #ZooMiami #LiveZooMiami."
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