An 18-year-old female Masai giraffe died at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this weekend following an extended bout with pneumonia and pleurisy (an inflammation of the lungs). "Bridgit," who had been receiving intensive treatment for the infection, died in her night quarters on Saturday, June 18, with the Zoo's veterinary care staff and her keepers by her side.
Bridgit was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 1993 to mother, Twiggy, and father, Bert. She gave birth to five offspring at the Zoo, beginning with Tyra in 1998, Elvira in 2003, Mac in 2005, Jada in 2007, and Grace in 2008. In 2004 she became a grandmother when her oldest offspring Tyra gave birth to a female giraffe named Binty at the Houston Zoo.
Two of Bridgit's offspring, Jada, 4, and Grace, almost 3, still live at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with the rest of the herd, Lindi, 26, Shirley, 5, Jhasmin, 5, and Travis, 4.
Giraffes are native to the savannas of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Masai giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) are found in Kenya and Tanzania, near the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Giraffes are the tallest mammals, with males capable of reaching heights up to 18 feet tall. Giraffes can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They have long, prehensile tongues, which are bluish purple, which they use to strip the leaves from tree branches in the wild. Giraffes typically live 15-20 years in the wild and a few years longer in captivity.