NEWTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Binder Park Zoo’s third-oldest giraffe, considered the matriarch of her herd, has died.
Makena was euthanized Thursday after a fall, the zoo announced.
The zoo said it’s not unusual for a fall to prove fatal for giraffes because they are so tall and so heavy. Makena stood nearly 18 feet tall and weighed around 1,800 pounds.
Makena was born Aug. 17, 1999 at the Columbus Zoo. She came to the Battle Creek-area zoo in April 2005 and went on to mother four calves, one of which remains at Binder Park. Zoo officials say was curious and liked to interact with her keepers.
Giraffes generally live between 15 and 25 years in the wild. At 21, Makena had been suffering from arthritis and was not on exhibit last year while undergoing treatments including stem cell and laser therapy.
Reticulated giraffes like Makena are considered vulnerable, with about 111,000 left in the wild. The decline in their population has been blamed on habitat loss, poaching, disease and war.
Binder Park Zoo is closed for winter. It reopens May 1. It still has six giraffes.