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HomeNewsNashville Zoo has Masai Giraffe pass away

Nashville Zoo has Masai Giraffe pass away

Nashville ZooNashville, TN – Nashville Zoo reports the loss of Margarita, a 14-year-old, female Masai giraffe, who died yesterday due to complications from arthritis. Nashville Zoo staff are mourning the loss.

“We are devastated to lose such a beautiful creature,” said Nashville Zoo President and CEO Rick Schwartz. “Margarita has been with us since we opened our Giraffe Savanna in 2006 and has birthed five calves as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan®. My heart goes out to our giraffe care team who have looked after Margarita and her calves for the past 13 years.”

Nashville Zoo Mourns The Loss of Masai Giraffe. (Casey Gower)
Nashville Zoo Mourns The Loss of Masai Giraffe. (Casey Gower)

Nashville Zoo’s veterinary staff had been monitoring Margarita’s condition for more than a year. Despite various treatments, complications from sacral instability lead to secondary arthritis and an abnormal gait. After extensive discussion, Nashville Zoo’s animal care officials made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the giraffe.

“This is a tough part of our job,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “We will always give the best care we can to all of our animals. Sometimes treating their illnesses are beyond our abilities and we must address their quality of life.”

Margarita came to Nashville Zoo in 2006 from the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas. She and the Zoo’s male giraffe, Congo, produced five calves: Suzasita (female) in November 2010, Camilla (female) in June 2012, Bahati (female) in December 2013, Enzi (male) in July 2015 and Mazi (male) in February 2017.

Masai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) are one of nine sub-species of giraffe known for their oak-leaf-shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania in Africa. The wild population has seen a 40% decline since 1985 due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and illegal hunting.

Nashville Zoo is a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Giraffe Species Survival Plan® that contributes to the genetic preservation of the species across the nation.

Anyone wishing to honor Margarita is encouraged to make a contribution to the Zoo’s conservation efforts here.

About Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard.

The Zoo attracts more than 1,000,000 visitors annually and is considered one of the top attractions in Nashville. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit www.nashvillezoo.org


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