Beloved 28-year-old giraffe Sabrena dies at Lincoln Park Zoo

Sabrena, a 28-year-old giraffe at the Lincoln Park Zoo, has passed away. (Lincoln Park Zoo)

A beloved geriatric giraffe who lived most of her life at the Lincoln Park Zoo has died.

Sabrena, 28, was euthanized after her health deteriorated dramatically due to colic, advanced age and unresponsiveness to medication, according to the North Side zoo.

The zoo called euthanization "the difficult but humane decision."

The median life expectancy for giraffes who survive their first year of life is 19.5 years.

"Sabrena would frequently be seen in the exhibit space mouthing at puzzle feeders, interacting with keepers or stretching her long legs outside," General Curator Dave Bernior said in a statement from the zoo.

She was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo, but spent all but four years of her life at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

"Over the years, Sabrena developed very strong, trusting bonds with keepers and enjoyed training sessions where she would receive some of her favorite food items, including kale and fresh browse, such as mulberry, honey locust and willow," Bernior said.

There is one remaining giraffe at the North Side zoo, also a female.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently downgrading the status of giraffes to "vulnerable."

The wild population of the animals has fallen from 155,000 individuals to about 97,000 in the last 50 years. Major causes for the decline include poaching and habitat fragmentation caused by agriculture, mining, logging and other human activities.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2017.)

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