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Perth Zoo mourns death of giraffe Misha

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/05/2016

Perth Zoo is mourning the death of its New Zealand-born Rothschild giraffe, Misha, who had chronic arthritis in her knees and had to be put down.

Despite medications and daily massages, the 26-year old giraffe was unable to walk properly and the difficult decision was made to end her suffering, the zoo said.

"There was no prospect of recovery, it was clear she was in discomfort and we owed it to Misha to give her a dignified end to her life," Perth Zoo's curator of life sciences, John Lemon, said.

Misha was born in July 1990 at Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand before moving to Perth Zoo in 1991.

She earned global fame in an image called The Kiss, in which she was pictured with her lips puckered on her calf's head.

The image helped raise the profile of the Rothschild Giraffe, which is one of the most critically endangered sub-species of giraffe in the world.

Thousands of people have taken to the zoo's Facebook page to shed virtual tears for Misha, many posting pictures of The Kiss hanging on the wall of their homes.

But Misha's legacy lives on in her seven calves.

"Her impact cannot be underestimated. Makulu the male offspring captured with her in The Kiss has 58 descendants, her lineage extends all over the world," Mr Lemon said.

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