Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek made a sad announcement today, saying "Makena" or "Mak", a 21 year old giraffe at the zoo has died.

Mak was euthanized on Thursday, January 21, following a fall inside the giraffe barn. According to the zoo, camera footage revealed an accidental interaction with another giraffe that caused her to trip and fall. The other giraffe was not injured.

Makena, a female reticulated giraffe was the third oldest of the seven giraffes at the zoo. The zoo says "she had been off exhibit most of the 2020 season after undergoing a series of procedures performed under anesthesia; stem cell therapy to treat arthritis in both front legs, a complete dental check and hoof trim in May 2020. 'Subsequent weekly laser therapy, systemic anti-inflammatories and a period of recovery improved her condition significantly, and we felt that Mak was on track to rejoin the herd on the savanna in the spring of 2021.'" said the zoo’s veterinarian Dr. Kim Thompson.

The zoo says the estimated lifespan of a giraffe is 15-25 years in the wild and even longer in captivity.

Makena or “Mak”, giraffe at the Binder Park Zoo, was 21 years old and the third oldest of the seven giraffes living at the zoo. (Photo: Binder Park Zoo)

Makena was born in 1999 and came to Battle Creek in 2005. She birthed four calves including one now living at Binder Park. She was almost 18’ tall and weighed 1800 pounds, The zoo release says "unfortunately giraffe can sometimes sustain fatal injuries from a fall because of their significant height and weight."

The release goes on to say "with a friendly, easy-going personality, Makena was the clear matriarch of the herd and zoo staff even referred to her as 'Mama'."

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