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After receiving the results of a necropsy, the Reid Park Zoo announced that Elinor, the 20-year-old reticulated giraffe that passed away earlier this month, developed lymphoma before she died.

The necropsy (an animal autopsy) was performed at the University of Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

“Elinor died of an aggressive, malignant cancer known as lymphoma,” said chief veterinarian Dr. Alexis Roth, in a statement. “Her symptoms and progression of disease were rapid. Although a common form of cancer in people and many animals, lymphoma is extremely rare in giraffe and not much is known about successful treatment.”

The median life expectancy for reticulated giraffes is 19 years. Elinor lived at Reid Park Zoo with two other giraffes: Jasiri, an 8-year-old male, and Denver, a 30-year-old female who is the second oldest giraffe in an AZA-accredited Zoo.

“Elinor was loved so much by staff and guests,” said Sue Tygielski, director of zoo operations, in a release. “Little kids that visit the zoo knew her from the other giraffe and would wait to visit with and feed Elinor. She had her own special fan club.  While some guests marveled at Jasiri’s tall height, and others at Denver’s bold nature, Elinor was often the sweet favorite.”

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