Mithra was one of the oldest giraffes in a North American accredited zoo and had been affected by degenerative changes in her joints at an elderly age. Recently, her physical condition declined, prompting zoo staff to "reach the difficult decision that euthanasia was the most appropriate option for her well-being."
"Just like losing a dog or other pet that has been part of one's family for many years, it is always heartbreaking when we lose an animal at the zoo. However, it is comforting knowing that we provided Mithra with the best possible care, which contributed to her long life," said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society.
Mithra arrived at the Brookfield Zoo in September 1992. In 1994, she gave birth to a male offspring, who went on to father several of his own calves, continuing her genetic line with a grandson, two granddaughters, and four great-grandsons.