One of the oldest giraffes under human care has died at the age of 31 in a Texas zoo.
Twiga, a Masai giraffe native to east Africa, died over the weekend at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, in the east of the US state.
She outlived the usual lifespan of her species by about five years.
Had Twiga made it to her next birthday in three months’ time, she would have been among the likes of Ursula, who died at the age of 32 in an Oklahoma zoo in 2017.
Twiga was born at Los Angeles Zoo, then moved to another in Wisconsin before entering Ellen Trout’s gates in 2008.
Director of the zoo Gordon Henley said she “guided” other giraffes when they were brought to the zoo.
He said: “She had provided company and companionship to our other giraffes as they came in and kind of guided them along.”
The director added that Twiga had been showing some signs of age and occasionally walked with a limp, but had been receiving “a lot of TLC” from staff and the zoo’s vet.
“We knew based on her age that it was probably not going to be much longer. But that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens,” he said.
A giraffe called Mutangi also reached the age of 31 in an Australian zoo a couple of years ago.