Perth Zoo has farewelled, ‘Misha’ the Rothschild Giraffe made globally famous by the iconic image, ‘The Kiss’.
The aged giraffe had been suffering from chronic osteoarthritis. Despite months of treatment including specialist medications and daily massage it was clear the animal was in pain and increasingly unable to walk properly. Sadly the difficult decision was made to end her suffering.
Perth Zoo’s Curator of Life Sciences, John Lemon, said: “It was a very hard decision but the right decision to make.
The ongoing health and welfare of our animals is our number one priority.”
“There was no prospect of recovery, it was clear she was in discomfort and we owed it to Misha to give her a dignified end to her life,” said John.
Misha was one of the most famous giraffe in the world. The image ‘The Kiss’ captured by the West Australian newspaper 20 years ago of her tending to her male calf ‘Makulu’ resonated around the world.
“She is immortalised in that iconic picture and it helped raise the profile of Perth Zoo and the endangered Rothschild Giraffe,” said John.
Misha was born in July 1990 at Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand before moving to Perth Zoo in 1991. She made a significant contribution to safeguarding a future for her species, giving birth to seven calves during her lifetime.
“Her impact cannot be underestimated. Makulu the male offspring captured with her in ‘The Kiss’ has 58 descendants, her lineage extends all over the world,” said John.
The average age expectancy for giraffe in the wild is approximately 17 years of age, although they can live longer in zoos due to a lack of predation and expert care.
Just as the Perth Zoo family have been mourning Misha’s loss, so too did the Perth and global community. The Perth Zoo’s Facebook page was flooded with virtual tears, with close to 30,000 people reacting to the news and many sharing where they had seen The Kiss image and what it meant to them.
Those wishing to mark the giraffe’s passing were asked to consider a donation to Perth Zoo’s conservation fund in lieu of flowers.
Author: Danielle Henry – Media and Communications Manager