The zoo is heartbroken to report that one of our geriatric female giraffes, Val, was found deceased in her sleeping quarters early this morning.
Although the cause of her death is unknown at this time, a full necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine where we expect to learn the cause of death.
Val recently celebrated her 24th birthday on Valentine’s Day. She was starting to show signs of regular aging with lameness in her front left leg that included arthritis, irregular hoof wear and age-related breakdown of joints. Her care team was doing everything possible to make her golden years comfortable by performing regular hoof trims to help with normal walking and wearing of hoofs as well as radiographs and heat and cold packs for added comfort.
Val was born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on Valentine’s Day in 1995. She came to the Sacramento Zoo in November 1995 where she lived the rest of her life. She was recognized by her rusty red coloring and fuzzy ossicones. She is remembered for being a laid-back leader of the herd.
At this time, the zoo will be closed until further notice but will likely open later this afternoon and resume regular business hours Sunday, August 11th.