Topeka Zoo Euthanizes Endangered 9-Year-Old Giraffe with Irreversible Health Issue

The Kansas zoo decided to euthanize the reticulated giraffe "after consulting with numerous experts in the field" about the animal's tumorous joint

Topeka Zoo Euthanizes 9-Year-Old Giraffe Part of an Endangered Species
Photo: Topeka Zoo/Facebook

The Topeka Zoo is mourning the death of their beloved 9-year-old reticulated giraffe, Abi — short for Abiquiu.

The Kansas facility announced on social media that Abi was euthanized Sunday morning due to ongoing problems with a tumorous joint, which zookeepers previously described as irreversible.

"A radiograph study over the past several months on her front left fetlock has been following the progression of an unknown mass/tumor that points to possible neoplasia, or cancer," the zoo said on Facebook, explaining that the fetlock is a joint similar to a human's ankle. "After consulting with numerous experts in the field and considering Abi's quality of life, Zoo officials made the difficult decision to euthanize her. Histopathology is pending to determine the type of tumor that was in the joint."

Topeka Zoo Euthanizes 9-Year-Old Giraffe Part of an Endangered Species
Topeka Zoo/Facebook

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Zookeepers said that Abi's tumor would be studied in hopes of helping other giraffes with similar health conditions moving forward.

"An MRI will also be done on her brain and contribute information to an ongoing research study that is trying to determine why giraffes don't have strokes in hopes that the information can help improve human health," the zoo added on social media.

Abi moved to the Topeka Zoo in 2015 after being transferred from the Albuquerque Biological Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2018, she gave birth to a giraffe calf named Konza, who now lives at the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.

Reticulated giraffes are an endangered species. Their average life expectancy is 25 years in their natural habitats and 20 to 27 years in human care.

Zoo director Brendan Wiley said Abi "made a difference" in her community and connected with millions of people, adding, "We hope those connections find ways to translate into positive impacts for giraffes in the wild and their range territories."

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