'Cherished' giraffe at Fota Wildlife Park dies of suspected heart failure

Tadgh has sired 23 offspring and also has 17 "grandchildren"

'Cherished' giraffe at Fota Wildlife Park dies of suspected heart failure

Tadgh is pictured at Fota Wildlife Park in July 2012 | Image: Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park says it is "deeply saddened" by the death of its Rothschild giraffe, Tadgh.

He passed away on Tuesday night from what initially looks like heart failure.

The Cork park says he had reached "the ripe old age" of 16 years and 8 months, and was loved by many.

They say he was especially loved by the rangers who cared for him.

Tadgh was born on May 8th 2001 in Hamburg Zoo, Germany and arrived at Fota Wildlife Park on May 20th 2004.

Fota says since then, he has contributed greatly to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programmes (EEP) by siring 23 offspring - including Fada, Aoife, Blaithín and the latest arrival, Noinín, who was born in April last year.

He also has 17 "grandchildren".

Aidan Rafferty, lead ranger, said: "The rangers were greatly saddened to discover that Tadgh has passed away during the night and he will be profoundly missed here at Fota Wildlife Park.

"However, over his long and happy life here, he proved to be a great sire who will ensure his legacy lives on in the many offspring at Fota and other zoological parks."

Rothschild giraffes are the tallest of the giraffe subspecies and in 2016, there were estimated to be only 1,600 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild in Kenya and Uganda with a further 500 in wildlife parks and zoos.