Walter the giraffe dies

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THE STATE

The father of Kiko, the Masai giraffe whose birth was shown live on Giraffe Cam and followed by people as far away as the Netherlands and Africa, has died.

Kiko’s father, Walter, was transferred to the Turtle Back Zoo in Essex County, N.J., in 2016 as part of the Giraffe Species Survival Program. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVencenzo Jr. announced in a press release that Walter died last week from complications during a dental procedure.

The zoo’s veterinarian noticed Walter, known as Hodari at the New Jersey zoo, was having difficulty eating. He was put under anesthesia about three weeks ago so the veterinarian and a dental specialist could get a better look at the problem. Last Wednesday, he was put under anesthesia a second time so a procedure could be done and experienced complications, the release said.

He was one of four Masai giraffes that were sent to Turtle Back and occupied its new 3-acre Giraffe House in an African Adventure area.

Prior to his transfer, Walter had been at the Greenville Zoo since 2007. In addition to Kiko, he fathered Tatu.

The Greenville Zoo got a new male giraffe, 7-year-old Miles, from the Houston Zoo in September.

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