Today is a sad day at Taronga Western Plains Zoo with passing of Andrea Giraffe at 24 years of age. Andrea had been in declining health due to her age for some months.
Giraffes generally live to between 25 and 28 years and as they become older often are affected by worn teeth and physical problems related to wear and tear on their large bodies, such as their feet and joints.
Despite keepers and veterinarians supplementing her feeding and monitoring her condition it continued to decline and the difficult decision was made to euthanize her because her quality of life could not be maintained.
Andrea was born at Honolulu Zoo on the 19 October 1985 and arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on the 17 June 1986 where she became a major player in the Giraffe breeding program. At the age of four Andrea gave birth to her first calf Mutangi and since then another six calves have followed. We have been lucky to see four generations in our Giraffe herd that in one way or another can be traced back to her.
You could always rely on Andrea to be there for any photo opportunities and the animal encounter Giraffe in Focus rain, hail or shine. To describe Andrea is hard, as she was a charismatic animal with a lovely nature and very trusting. I remember one of her calves could not stand when it was born and she allowed keepers and vets to go in and assist the calf to stand whilst she mothered him. She also took care of the two hand-reared calves when they went out on the exhibit for the first time. Whenever visitors would meet Andrea they instantly fell in love with her including his Royal Highness Prince Andrew.
Andrea will always be with us through her offspring including her daughter, granddaughters, sons and grandsons.
Andrea, you have touched the hearts of many, been a dear friend to your keepers, you will be missed.