Just two weeks after settling in her new home at Sydney Zoo, the three-year-old giraffe, named Gigi suddenly passed away on Saturday night. Her passing shocked many, and the zoo announced the launching of an investigation on her death on Sunday.
The young female giraffe was transferred from the Australian Zoo on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. According to the Sydney Zoo, results from a post-mortem could take up to three weeks.
The animal's sudden death caused a deluge of grief on Facebook, with many sending their condolences to her keepers. The zookeepers in charge of caring for Gigi said that for a short time she was with them, she quickly bonded with her companions.
Furthermore, Gigi was determined to be a companion for the zoo's first giraffe, Eyelean, who was introduced to the facility in December last year. The zoo will be looking for a replacement giraffe to serve as a companion for their remaining giraffe. Giraffes are herd animals, which makes the move a necessary one, according to experts.
Sydney Zoo had previously claimed that Gigi's condition was stable when she settled in. However, in an interview with 9 News, Dr. Robert Zammit, a veterinary surgeon, said that transferring the giraffe from warmer to colder climate conditions could have put the animal under stress.
Veterinarians from the University of Sydney will administer a post-mortem on the giraffe. Results from the examination will be expected in mid-July.
Did You Know? Giraffes Have Purple Tongues
Well, sometimes they could appear black or blue as well. The front part of their tongues appears to be dark while its back is usually pink. Some scientists believe that the dark coloration of their tongues serves a good purpose.
The dark color comes from the density of dark 'melanin' colour pigments contained in them. Since the animal spends up to almost 12 hours a day eating, scientists assume that the dark pigmentation of their tongues could protect it from exposure to the sun's rays.
Their 45-50 centimeter long tongues are strong and are used to feed on a range of different shoots and plants. A giraffe's tongue has thickened papillae, which protects it from thorns or any sharp surfaces in plants. Additionally, thick saliva is also believed to help protect their tongue and mouth against the defensive mechanisms of their favourite treats.
Adorable Creatures, Baby Giraffes
Baby giraffes are called calves. The majority of newborn calves weigh in at around 220 pounds and stand over six feet tall.
Did you know that baby giraffes can stand up just moments after being born? According to National Geographic, they can stand within 30 minutes after their birth. In fact, they can run the day they are born.
During birth, the calf will collapse to the ground, since mother giraffes give birth while standing up. The fall can be as far as 5 feet, says National Geographic.
Calves are weaned at around 12 months, according to researchers from the University of Michigan. At three to six years old, calves are fully mature. Giraffes can live 10 to 15 years in the wild and about 20 to 25 years in captivity.