April, 20, gained fame giving birth as millions watched via livestream. She was euthanized on Friday because of her worsening arthritis.
April the giraffe, an internet sensation who gave birth nearly four years ago as an audience of millions watched via livestream, and helped educate the public about her species, died on Friday, Animal Adventure Park, her home, announced.
Giraffes in captivity have an average life expectancy of 20 to 25 years; their life span in the wild is about 10 to 15 years.
The birth of Tajiri also put a spotlight on the species, which some experts have said is in need of conservation.
“April’s impact on animal conservation and appreciation is both immeasurable and lasting,” Jordan Patch, the owner of the park, said on Facebook. “April, in her own special way, changed the world.”
The attention lavished on April came as the center, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and others sought to strengthen protections for giraffes.
Wildlife experts worry about a continued decline in the species. There’s a demand in the United States for giraffe bones, which are used for handles on guns or knives.
“We are potentially a part of the problem,” Ms. Sanerib said. “We’re driving demand for the species and leading to its demise.”
While it may take a while for experts to see an increase in the giraffe population, Ms. Sanerib said April’s impact can be measured in the willingness by the public to get educated about the species.
“She’s done a tremendous amount for her species by elevating the silent extinction of giraffes,” Ms. Sanerib said on Saturday, calling April “a champion” for giraffes.
Some animals in captivity, like April, are known to get arthritis, Ms. Sanerib said. The staff at Animal Adventure Park last summer began reporting changes in April’s mobility, the park’s veterinary team said. Veterinarians noted an onset of osteoarthritis and began to treat April with a variety of remedies, including pain medications, hoof trimming and diet changes, and they installed padded flooring for her.
Over time, they noticed April’s mobility decline, prompting them to re-evaluate her condition and leading to “the determination that euthanasia was the humane and appropriate course of action,” the park said.
Her body was taken to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, where it will be examined. She will be cremated and her ashes returned to the park.
“The loss of an animal as loved as her will be felt in our community, around the country and across the world,” Mr. Patch said.
Source: New York Times