Photo via Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Month-old giraffe calf Julius is still in critical condition, but at least he’s eating again. That development was enough to convince zoo staff to put off a planned “major procedure” for the giraffe that was set to take place yesterday.

Veterinarians were planning to insert an intravenous line into Julius after his blood work in previous days indicated his health was declining. The baby giraffe didn’t take to nursing from his mother after he was born last month, which deprived him of necessary antibodies. When his health faltered on separate occasions, the zoo arranged two plasma transfusions to try to boost his immune system.

On Tuesday evening, the zoo said on its blog that vets had consulted with experts and decided inserting an IV – despite “serious risks” — was the best option to give Julius his needed nutrients.

But at 7:30 p.m. last night, the zoo posted an update saying that the calf “made modest progress on a new pan feeding method with an electrolyte solution, providing a small glimmer of hope that he may be able to provide nutrition for himself through drinking.”

The change led the giraffe care team to postpone the IV procedure yesterday.

The zoo said the development warrants some relief, but Julius will need to ingest more formula over time if he wants to really get healthy. The team is monitoring him through tonight and is working “intensively” with him on feeding.

Julius was born to parents Kesi and Caesar four weeks ago. He has a half-sister, five-month-old Willow, who he met last week.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...