Cincinnati Zoo announces cause of death for giraffe

Akilah (Source: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens)
Akilah (Source: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Zoo officials have released a cause of death for the zoo's 3-year-old Massai giraffe, Akilah.

Zoo veterinarians conducted a necropsy Sunday morning and determined Akilah died from a collapse of the cardiovascular system.

"Giraffes are fragile and sensitive animals," said Dr. Mark Campbell, Director of Animal Health at the Zoo. "Akilah experienced a tremendous amount of shock, which led to a collapse of the cardiovascular system."

Akilah was found Saturday afternoon around 4:30 p.m. sitting in the back of the outdoor exhibit. She was apparently feeding on grass inside an enclosed island when her horns became caught in netting that surrounded the trees. Zoo staff conducted a safety inspection on Sunday and removed the netting.

"Akilah was adored by the people that cared for her and by Zoo guests who had the privilege of hand feeding her every day," said Thane Maynard, executive director at the Zoo.

Akilah was born December 25, 2006 at the Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio. She stood 12-feet-tall and weighed 1,600 pounds. She arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo in June 2008 for the opening of the Zoo's Giraffe Ridge exhibit.

The Zoo's other two giraffes, Tessa and Kimbaumbau, are the zoo's remaining breeding pair.

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