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Wellington giraffe dies after surgery

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/02/2017

The 26-year-old female giraffe died on Wednesday morning following hoof surgery last week, staff say. © Twitter / @WellingtonZoo The 26-year-old female giraffe died on Wednesday morning following hoof surgery last week, staff say.

Wellington Zoo is mourning the death of its elderly giraffe, Tisa.

The 26-year-old female giraffe died on Wednesday morning following hoof surgery last week, staff say.

She had been refusing to eat or drink following the operation to ease discomfort on her left hind foot and her health had deteriorated rapidly due to her age, general manager of animal care and science Mauritz Basson says.

"Tisa appeared weak and was showing signs of dehydration. As a last attempt to save Tisa's life, we decided to perform an emergency procedure ... to run blood tests and give her fluids to treat her dehydration," he said.

"Despite our best efforts to save her life, unfortunately Tisa did not recover from the anaesthetic."

Herbivore keeper April Turnbull, who looked after Tisa for nearly three years, says the giraffe was kind, gentle and well-loved.

"Most mornings when I would walk up to the African savanna to tend to the Giraffes, Tisa would stick her head over the barrier and rest her head on my shoulder," she said .

"But you had to be careful when you were preparing the Giraffe's breakfast in the service area with the door open, as Tisa would poke her head through and steal food off the bench when you weren't looking."

Tisa came to Wellington Zoo in 1991 from Melbourne as part of a breeding programme.

She had five children with her partner Ricky, one of which, Zahara, still lives at the zoo.

The zoo also recently lost nine-year-old chimpanzee Beni after it suffered a cut to its leg and also failed to recover from anaesthetic.

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