DENVER — The Denver Zoo has said goodbye to Kipele, a 29-year-old reticulated giraffe who was euthanized after what the zoo described as an acute decline in her health.
The Denver Zoo said in a Facebook post Wednesday that zoo staff had been closely monitoring Kipele's quality of life because of her advanced age and mobility issues and that when her health suddenly declined, they made the "very difficult" decision to humanely euthanize her.
Kipele passed away peacefully Tuesday, the zoo said, surrounded by those who loved and cared for her.
The above video is about Dobby, Kipele's youngest offspring.
Born at the Denver Zoo on Aug. 16, 1993, Kipele was one of the oldest giraffes at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums facility. The average lifespan of a giraffe is 25 years.
"Even though we knew our time with Kipele wouldn’t last forever, this loss, like any, is incredibly hard on the staff who provided her with immeasurable amounts of love, care and attention for the past 29 years," the zoo said.
The Denver Zoo said they watched Kipele grow from a calf to a sweet and friendly giraffe who became the herd's matriarch and expertly cared for eight offspring.
Her most recent offspring was Dobby, who famously came as a surprise because Kipele was on birth control when she became pregnant with him and was well into her term when staff found out she would be giving birth.
The zoo said staff was heartbroken to say goodbye to Kipele and that she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife
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