Phoenix Zoo’s beloved giraffe ‘Makope’ dies

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PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) – A giraffe named Makope died at the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona, according to zoo officials.

The 14-year-old giraffe died Thursday after developing sudden neurologic abnormalities, according to a Facebook post dedicated to Makope.

“She had been under medical treatment and close keeper observation for the past several months for difficulty in navigating her surroundings,” the post said. “She appeared to improve over recent months with stall rest and treatment and was spending full days out on the Savanna with the rest of our giraffe herd alternating on exhibit with our male Masai giraffe, Miguu.”

The zoo said in the post that Makope was being closely cared for by veterinary and other staff.

Makope means “eyelashes” in Swahili. She was known to be the most “mischievous” and “outgoing” giraffe.

“Makope has been a bright spot in our giraffe herd from the moment of her birth on the Savanna exhibit 14.5 years ago,” the zoo said in the post. She was “a favorite among many for her penchant for reaching trees just outside the exhibit to munch on, being inquisitive about her surroundings and just being a reliable, steady influence on our giraffe herd.”

Makope also had a half-sister named Zuri at the Phoenix Zoo.

“Her absence will be deeply felt by all who knew her — giraffe and human alike,” the zoo said.

Midwestern University will conduct a full necropsy and the cause of death report is expected in a few weeks.

“(Makope) was born on exhibit like a super star, and she burned bright for her whole life,” according to the zoo team.


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