News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
November 2, 2017

Chicago Zoological Society Saddened by Loss of Matriarchal Giraffe

Note: Images of Mithra at Brookfield Zoo may be downloaded here:
            Brookfield, Ill.—The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, is saddened to announce the loss of its matriarchal giraffe, Mithra. At 27, she was one of the oldest giraffes in a North American accredited zoo and surpassed the median life expectancy for the species in professional care.

At an elderly age, Mithra was affected by degenerative changes in her joints and physical condition encountered by all species as they get older. Over the past year, veterinary and animal care staff closely monitored Mithra’s condition. With dedicated care during this time, she had remained comfortable and was able to still be with the other giraffes in the zoo’s herd. Recently, however, Mithra’s physical condition had declined, prompting staff to reach the difficult decision that euthanasia was the most appropriate option for her well-being.

“Mithra’s longevity speaks to the advancements made in veterinary care and animal welfare over the past decade,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for CZS. “Just like losing a dog or other pet that has been part of one’s family for many years, it is always heartbreaking when we lose an animal at the zoo. However, it is comforting knowing that we provided Mithra with the best possible care, which contributed to her long life.”

Mithra had been at Brookfield Zoo for the past 25 years, arriving in September 1992. Guests first saw her in the zoo’s former Giraffe House before she and the rest of the herd moved to their current home at Habitat Africa! The Savannah! in 1993. The following year, she gave birth to a male offspring, who went on to sire several of his own calves, continuing her legacy and genetic line with a grandson, two granddaughters, and four great-grandsons.

Over the years, millions of zoogoers were able to see Mithra and the rest of the giraffe herd. “The majority of the public who visit zoos will never have the opportunity to see the gracefulness of this amazing animal in its native habitat. We hope our guests who came to see Mithra, as well as the hundreds of other amazing creatures that call Brookfield Zoo home, will be inspired to care and connect with the natural world,” added Zeigler.

The current herd at Brookfield Zoo includes Jasiri, 12; Arnieta, 10; Potoka, 4; and Ato, 2.
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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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