A 14-year-old giraffe named Makope died Thursday at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, zoo officials said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Makope, one of the zoo’s reticulated giraffes, had been under medical treatment for several months for “difficulty in navigating her surroundings,” the statement said.
While Makope seemed to improve over recent months, she “unexpectedly started to decline a couple of days ago and was being closely cared for by veterinary, curator, and keeper staff.”
On Thursday, she developed sudden neurologic abnormalities and died shortly after, the zoo officials said.
“Makope has been a bright spot in our giraffe herd from the moment of her birth on the Savanna exhibit 14.5 years ago,” the zoo’s statement read. “She was by far our most mischievous and outgoing giraffe. She was a mainstay at our giraffe deck and a favorite among many for her penchant for reaching trees just outside the exhibit to munch on, being inquisitive about her surroundings and just being a reliable, steady influence on our giraffe herd.”
“Her absence will be deeply felt by all who knew her – giraffe and human alike,” the statement concluded.
The zoo officials also said that Makope’s half-sister, Zuri, is the last reticulated giraffe at the Phoenix Zoo, along with the Masai family group. Her name was derived from Swahili, meaning “eyelashes.”
Makope is being taken to Midwestern University to conduct a full necropsy and discover her cause of death, zoo officials said.