POSTED: Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 10:23am
UPDATED: Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 11:15am
Lufkin, Texas (KETK) — Thanksgiving Day was a sad day at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas.
Rafiki, the adult male Maasai Giraffe, was found dead in his stall when his keepers arrived at 8:00 a.m. that morning.
He had been on exhibit the day before and was behaving normally and was observed eating in his stall at the end of the day when his keepers left at 5:00 p.m.
From his position, it appears that he died suddenly and collapsed.
There were no indications that there was anything seriously wrong with Rafiki, although he was being treated for a slight limp due to an age related arthritis in his left foreleg.
A necropsy has been ordered to determine his cause of death and took nearly eight hours to complete.
Zoo officials say that it could take several weeks before the results are known.
Rafiki was the first giraffe to be exhibited at the Ellen Trout Zoo and arrived at the zoo on June 2, 1999.
He was born at the San Diego Zoo on August 9, 1996. He lived to be 17 years and 3 months old.