Zoo in shock af­ter sud­den death of gi­raffe Yoda

Western Morning News - - News -

Staff and vol­un­teers at Paign­ton Zoo En­vi­ron­men­tal Park have been left shocked by the sud­den death of male gi­raffe Yoda.

The 14-year-old north­ern gi­raffe was found col­lapsed in the gi­raffe house early yes­ter­day.

Zoo spokesper­son Phil Knowl­ing said: “This has come as a huge shock. He was a noble an­i­mal, one of the best­known and best-loved char­ac­ters in the zoo. There was no warn­ing. Peo­ple are in tears.

“It’s a big blow, but when you work with an­i­mals you have to deal with the low points as well as the highs.”

A post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion will be car­ried out by the zoo’s vet team.

Yoda ar­rived in Devon from Givskud Zoo in Den­mark in Septem­ber 2006, seven months af­ter a fire killed a fam­ily of three gi­raffes at the char­ity zoo. He was born in Novem­ber 2004.

Since the fire, an­i­mal ex­perts have pa­tiently re­built the Paign­ton Zoo herd. Two fe­males from zoos in the Czech Repub­lic, Sangha and Jan­ica, joined Yoda. Dur­ing his time in Devon there were 11 births in eight years. Gi­raffes can live into their late 20s.

The 14-year-old cut an im­pres­sive fig­ure, stand­ing at over five me­tres tall and weigh­ing around 1,200kg. The feet of an adult gi­raffe are the size of a din­ner plate and they have a kick that can kill a lion.

Yoda, pic­tured here in front of Jan­ica, has died af­ter col­laps­ing at Paign­ton Zoo

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