FORT WAYNE — The oldest reticulated giraffe in the U.S. has died at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo at nearly 34 years old.
Her name was Zuri and she greeted more than 17 million guests over the course of her stay at the zoo, according to a Monday Facebook post by the zoo.
“The Fort Wayne community was able to connect with Zuri in a unique and incredibly special way. The exceptional care she received allowed Zuri to connect with kids for nearly 34 years. As the oldest reticulated giraffe in the United States, her influence on guests, her species, and the entire AZA community was outstanding. Now, it’s up to us to continue her legacy," said Dr. Kami Fox, head veterinarian at the zoo.
ABC News affiliate WPTA reports that zoo officials said its veterinary team noticed Zuri was showing signs of abdominal pain and a decreased appetite. After several days of treatment, her symptoms worsened and she later died.
"Zuri was loved by all, and her loss is felt deeply. We share this heartbreak with our animal care professionals, who cared for her daily. We thank them for their outstanding work, not only with Zuri, but with all the animals here at the Zoo," the facility said in its post.
The zoo is now welcoming anyone to mail cards, photos or stories of their favorite Zuri memories to the zoo at 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.