LUFKIN, Texas (AP) — A giraffe named Twiga, who died at an east Texas zoo over the weekend at the age of 31, was among the oldest giraffes cared for by humans.
Twiga was found dead Saturday morning at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, a city of about 34,000 people about 170 miles southeast of Dallas, zoo director Gordon Henley said.
Twiga would have turned 32 on October 1st. She was born at the Los Angeles Zoo. She then visited the Racine Zoo in Wisconsin before coming to the Ellen Trout Zoo in June 2008.
“She had provided company and companionship for our other giraffes when they arrived, and sort of guided them,” Henley said.
Twiga was a Masai giraffe. Henley said their life expectancy is typically around 25 to 26 years.
Henley said Twiga has shown some signs of aging and occasionally limp a little. But he said she has “received a lot of love from the zookeeping staff and from our veterinarian.”
“Because of her age, we knew it probably wouldn’t be long. But that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens,” Henley said.
In 2017, a giraffe was named Ursula died at the age of 32 the Oklahoma City Zoo and the Botanical Gardens. In 2021, a giraffe named Mutangi died at the age of 31 at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia.