Wellington Zoo staff and volunteers were deeply saddened yesterday after the Zoo’s eldest female Giraffe Tisa passed away Tuesday night.
Tisa had a health check and hoof trim under general anaesthetic last Thursday, and while Animal Care and Veterinary Science teams were optimistic about her recovery, Tisa’s health deteriorated quickly due to age related complications.
“Our Animal Care and Veterinary Science teams have been monitoring Tisa’s health closely over the last few days, after she refused to eat and drink following her initial procedure last week,” said General Manager Animal Care and Science Mauritz Basson.
“Tisa appeared weak and was showing signs of dehydration. As a last attempt to save Tisa’s life, we decided to perform an emergency procedure under general anaesthetic
Tuesday night, to run blood tests and give her fluids to treat her dehydration,” said Mauritz.
Due to her age and recent general anaesthesia, the prognosis for Tisa was guarded, however not performing the emergency procedure was not an option that was considered.
“It was in Tisa’s best interest that we performed this emergency procedure. Her blood test on the night indicated signs of kidney failure and along with her old age, this contributed to her rapid decline leading up to this procedure,” said Mauritz.
“Despite our best efforts to save her life, unfortunately Tisa did not recover from the anaesthetic Tuesday night and she passed way just before 1am Wednesday morning.”
Tisa has been a much loved animal at Wellington Zoo and thousands of Zoo visitors have met her during the daily Giraffe talk and during Close Encounters.
“Tisa was a kind animal and well loved by Zoo staff, volunteers, and visitors alike and we are very sad she has gone,” said Herbivore Keeper April Turnbull, who has cared for Tisa for nearly three years.
“Many of our visitors have told us about their fondness for Tisa, as her gentle character really touched everyone who had the chance to meet and connect with her.”
“Most mornings when I would walk up to the African Savannah to tend to the Giraffes, Tisa would stick her head over the barrier and rest her head on my shoulder,” said
“But you had to be careful when you were preparing the Giraffe’s breakfast in the service area with the door open, as Tisa would poke her head through and steal food off the bench when you weren’t looking.”
Tisa came to Wellington Zoo from Melbourne in May 1991 and was part of an international conservation breeding programme for Giraffes. Tisa with partner Ricky produced five offspring, with Zahara still living at Wellington Zoo.