CINCINNATI, OH (November 20, 2010) - Staff at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are mourning the loss of its three-year-old female Massai giraffe named Akilah. Zoo keepers found Akilah around 4:30 p.m. Saturday evening sitting in the back of the outdoor exhibit. Akilah was apparently feeding on grass inside an enclosed island within the 27,000-square-foot exhibit when her horns, called ossicones, became caught in the netting that surrounded the trees.
The official cause of death is unknown at this time. A necropsy - a procedure to determine the cause of an animal's death - will be performed Sunday morning. Results from the necropsy may not be available for days, if not weeks.
"This is a sad day for the Cincinnati Zoo," said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden" "Akilah was adored by the people that cared for her and by Zoo guests who had the privilege of hand feeding her every day."
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.
Zoo staff will conduct a safety inspection in the outdoor yard and remove the netting around the trees before the Zoo’s other two giraffes, Tessa and Kimbaumbau, go on exhibit Sunday morning.