"Because of the great work the keepers did training Angel to enter the giraffe chute voluntarily, we were able to devise many creative therapies for safely treating her up-close, including ultrasounds and hoof trims, and extending her time with us," Bronson said.
Zoo spokeswoman Jane Ballentine said Angel had been hand-raised by staff, and in her later years, was a leader of the herd, helping her younger cohorts become acclimated to the feeding station. She was not shy, and would freely snag a branch of acacia from a visitor's hands, Ballentine said.
"It has been wonderful to have her help the three new female giraffe acclimate to their home at the Zoo, and she was also a favorite with guests who were able to feed her at the Giraffe Feeding Station," Mike McClure, the zoo's general curator, said in a statement. "We will all miss her greatly."
Officials euthanized her with a dose of veterinary anesthetic adjusted for her size, Ballentine said.
Angel was the last giraffe to be born at the zoo, which is home to four other giraffes, including three females, 4-year-old Kesi, 2-year-olds Anuli and Juma, and 7-year-old Caesar. As Angel got older, the zoo brought in the other three females in 2013 and hope to breed Caesar and Kesi, Ballentine said.