In June 2022, the Abilene Zoo celebrated the birth of a baby giraffe. She was named Makena and was the third calf born to her mother Jamie (12) and father Congo (8). The Abilene Zoo has been very fortunate to have many animals bred and born here in the Key City.

Yesterday the Abilene Zoo announced that Makena had passed away unexpectedly during the early morning hours on Monday, April 8, from what is believed to be natural causes. She was only one-year-and-ten-months-old.

Makena was not the only young giraffe at Abilene's Zoo. She was growing up with a half-sibling, that was born just two months later. Makena delighted the Abilene Zoo visitors with her energy and playful disposition and was always seen playing with her sibling and the rest of the giraffe herd.

As of Wednesday, April 10, 2024, the exact cause of Makena's death is still not known. The saddened Abilene Zoo keepers and staff are awaiting the final results of a full autopsy. Philip Nigro, the Abilene Zoo's Animal Care Supervisor said, "Makena very rarely ever went to the feeding deck where zoo visitors can feed the giraffes from the bridge. She was one of the shyer giraffes."

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Nigro added, "Because Makena was very sweet-natured with a gentle disposition, she was all the zookeepers' favorite giraffe." The Abilene Zoo staff are thankful for the West Texas community's kind words, thoughts, prayers, and gestures during this sad time.

Abilene Zoo was founded in 1966 as a collaborative partnership between the City of Abilene and the Abilene Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving wildlife and protecting wild places.
Source: Denae Duesler, CFRE

LOOK: The Abilene Zoo From A to Z

Here's a close-up look at the animals that call the Abilene Zoo home.

Gallery Credit: Rudy Fernandez