LUFKIN, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old giraffe has collapsed and died at the East Texas zoo where he lived since 1999.
Officials with the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin say the Maasai giraffe named Rafiki was discovered dead in his stall on Thanksgiving Day. Authorities believe the giraffe died suddenly.
Necropsy results are pending on Rafiki, who was the first giraffe to be exhibited at the Ellen Trout Zoo. The animal was born at the San Diego Zoo in August 1996.
A statement from Ellen Trout Zoo officials says Rafiki was on exhibit last Wednesday and behaved normally. Zoo director Gordon Henley Jr. says Rafiki was being treated for a slight limp due to age-related arthritis in his left foreleg.
Lufkin is 115 miles northeast of Houston.