CLOVIS, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – The City of Clovis announced on Saturday that the 22-year-old Rothschild’s Giraffe at the Hillcrest Park Zoo, Jael, died. The city and the zoo noted that the cause of the giraffe’s death is under investigation with the help of veterinary experts.

City officials described that Jael was an “integral part” of the zoo community, with Rothschild’s Giraffes – named after British zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild – considered a unique and endangered subspecies known for their distinctive markings and height.

Typically, giraffes in zoos are considered to have a lifespan between 20-25 years, and officials noted that Jael ” lived a long and fulfilling life under the dedicated care of our zookeepers.”

Jael was also noted as the mother of Jerrica, another giraffe who is housed at the giraffe enclosure at the Hillcrest Park Zoo.

“While this is a difficult time for all of us at Hillcrest Park Zoo and the City of Clovis, we would like to continue to assure the community that the well-being of our animals is our top priority,” said Stephanie Chavez, Curator of Hillcrest Park Zoo, Saturday. “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jael’s passing, and we will keep the public informed as we gather more information.”

City officials described the Hillcrest Park Zoo as a “source of joy and education for the community and surrounding area,” with the loss of Jael felt deeply by those who knew and cared for the giraffe. Officials also noted that further updates regarding the investigation into the death would be shared as they become available.

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