The Calgary Zoo euthanized its 22-year-old giraffe Thursday, ending the animal’s long battle with degenerative arthritis.
Mardi, a reticulated giraffe, had been getting medication and acupuncture to reduce inflammation and make it more comfortable for some time, zoo officials said.
"It is always very sad to say good-bye to an old friend and Mardi was just that to so many of us here at the zoo," said Mona Keith, lead zookeeper in the African Savannah area.
However, just as we know when the time has come for our own aging pets, we knew that it was Mardi’s time."
Mardi was born at the Audubon zoo in New Orleans on Feb. 27, 1990 — during Mardi Gras, hence her name.
She came to the Calgary Zoo in 1991 where she had three calves: Kelsey, Richard and Sophie.
The average life expectancy of a giraffe is 20 to 25 years, the zoo said.
The zoo has one remaining 18-year-old female reticulated giraffe, Carrie. Officials are working with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan to bring one more to join her.
There have been 17 giraffes born at the Calgary Zoo as part of a species survival plan for reticulated giraffes, officials said.