TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Topeka Zoo is mourning the loss of its eldest female giraffe, “Dolly”.
Zookeepers say Dolly’s health was deteriorating, so the zoo was forced to euthanize the 30-year-old giraffe Thursday morning.
For more than a two-decades, Dolly was a major attraction at the Topeka zoo. The 16-foot-tall show stopper who endeared herself to everyone who saw her.
But at the age of 30, and in poor health from ankle problems, the zoo, and adoring fans had to say goodbye to the friendly giant.
“It was definitely a sad moment,” said Brendan Wiley, Topeka Zoo director. “She definitely has quite the life to celebrate here at the zoo.”
She gave birth to five babies, her most famous still living at the zoo, Hope.
Dolly was the heart of the exhibit, which continues to draw fascinated fans of all ages
Ironically, the latest addition to the giraffe exhibit arrived just a week ago, Abi, who came to Topeka from the Santa Fe Zoo.
But the new never fully replaces the old, and Dolly will be remembered as she continues to make an impact on zoology.
Her front legs will be donated to research in Colorado Springs, to better understand the structure of reticulated giraffes.
“She will be able to continue to give back. And we will dearly miss her. But we are thrilled that we still have Hope to work with, and to really continue Dolly’s memory,” said Wiley.
At the age of 30, Dolly outlived most other giraffes in captivity, and was the second oldest in North America at the time of her death.
The zoo is accepting donations to its conservation fund in Dolly’s name.