KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Zoo Knoxville announced Thursday Patches, the oldest giraffe in America has died. She was 31.
She was humanely euthanized Thursday morning due to poor health brought on by her age.
“Over her lifetime, Patches was an iconic ambassador. She made it possible for millions of visitors who will never have the opportunity to travel to Africa to experience the beauty and gracefulness of her species. We will always be grateful to her for inspiring our community to care about the future of giraffes and to support the work we are doing to save them,” said Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville President and CEO.
According to Zoo Knoxville, "Approximately a year ago, Patches began displaying signs of stiffness and was started on medication to address her symptoms. Radiographs confirmed a diagnosis of arthritis. Her symptoms became more acute over the last few months and in recent weeks her physical health began to show a notable decline. Her caretakers, in conjunction with the veterinary team from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, determined that her quality of life had reached a turning point and reached the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her."
Zoo Knoxville said the average age for giraffes is 25 years. Experts said her longevity can be attriuted to the excellent care she received from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine during her years at the zoo.
Patches had eight children in over the course of her life. Her last daighter, Lucille lives at Zoo Knoxville.