Pennsylvania zoo announces death of Masai giraffe

Patrons and staff of a Pennsylvania zoo are grieving the death of a fan favorite.

Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville announced Monday that Murphy, a Masai giraffe, has died. He was 20 years old.

“An iconic resident of the zoo, Murphy brought smiles to guests and staff through his lovable personality, charismatic presence and adorable ear wiggles,” the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. “His loss will be greatly felt by the staff and guests who loved him dearly.”

Murphy, who came to the zoo in 2017, had been suffering from “age-related health ailments,” according to the Facebook post. Although he received extensive care, “he had a limited response to ongoing treatment efforts,” the zoo said.

On Monday, the zoo’s animal care team “made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize him,” the post read.

The zoo described Murphy as a “gentle giant” who loved feedings, training sessions and mentoring Tatu, a younger Masai giraffe.

“Zoo staff will be closely monitoring Tatu and his behaviors through this transition,” the post read. “For this reason, there may be times Tatu is off exhibit as he adjusts to the change within his herd.”