12-year-old female Masai giraffe, Hasina

The Los Angeles Zoo is deeply saddened to announce the death of 12-year-old female Masai giraffe, Hasina, and her full-term stillborn calf. Based on the abnormal breech position of the giraffe calf, a natural delivery was not considered possible, and the Animal Health team made the decision to proceed with an anesthetized exam to remove the calf manually. The calf was successfully removed, and Hasina recovered from anesthesia and was doing well, but unfortunately, she passed away last night.

“The Zoo is devastated at the loss of Hasina and her calf,” said Dr. Dominique Keller, chief veterinarian and director of animal health & wellness at the Los Angeles Zoo. “Hasina was a healthy giraffe in her prime, so we were hopeful that she would survive. There were many complicating factors at work in this procedure such as the difficult position of the breech calf and the length of time under anesthesia. Following the procedure, Hasina was standing on her own, which is a positive sign, but in the end she may have been too weak from the experience.”

The five-hour long procedure began early Monday morning and consisted of a team of over 30 Animal Care and Animal Health staff working together to remove the unborn calf and save Hasina’s life.

“This was a time-sensitive procedure and it was all hands on deck,” said Beth Schaefer, director of animal programs. “When you have an animal of this size and weight, it takes a large team to manage all of the logistics that come with a procedure of this magnitude. We were all focused on the welfare of Hasina who has been with us for years. Hasina has always been a favorite among staff and guests, and she will be greatly missed.”

This would have been Hasina’s sixth giraffe calf, three of which were sired by nine-year-old Phillip. Hasina came to us from the San Diego Zoo in March 2010 and has been an ambassador for her species and instrumental in adding to the sustainable population of Masai giraffes at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and Masai giraffes can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh 2,700 pounds. The largest of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai giraffes are found in East Africa, namely southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Giraffes are currently categorized as “endangered” because their populations are under threat and declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal hunting, and disease.

The remainder of the giraffe herd, Phillip, Zainabu, SOFIE, and James will remain out in their habitat during normal Zoo hours, weather permitting.

About the Los Angeles Zoo
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing more than 1.8 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,400 animals representing 270 different species, 58 of which are endangered. Its lush grounds on 133 acres feature various plant species from around the world and California including many rare and endangered species. The Zoo is located in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $22 for adults and $17 for children ages 2 to 12. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo website at lazoo.org.