Oldest giraffe at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom dies

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's oldest giraffe, named Nairobi, has died.

Officials at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo are reporting that the park's oldest giraffe has died.

Nairobi, a beloved 25-year-old female reticulated giraffe, was euthanized Tuesday after it was determined by animal care staff and veterinarians that her quality of life had diminished considerably due to advanced age.

The 18-foot-tall, 1,600 pound animal was born at the park in 1989 and was one of the remaining original animals from that time period.

"She was definitely a favorite among staff and guests," said Don McCoy, park president. "Her elegance and stately manner, coupled with her quiet demeanor made her a great ambassador of her species. She will be sorely missed by everyone here."

Reticulated giraffe are the most commonly known of the nine subspecies of giraffe, and are characterized by their unique mosaic pattern. As with all giraffe, reticulated are considered threatened in the wild due to an increase in poaching and human encroachment.

Nairobi will be remembered as the most independent of the four individuals in her herd that includes two other females and a young male. According to her dedicated care staff, Nairobi was fond of green onions and leafy browse and was the largest of the herd. She had no offspring but was the primary "auntie" when other females gave birth because she was so calm and confident.

At 25, Nairobi outlived nearly 90 percent of other female reticulated giraffe under human care, which typically live into their late teens to early 20s. According to staff, this longevity can be attributed to proper health care, diet, nutrition, and good genes.
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