Oklahoma City Zoo officials say a 6-month-old female giraffe with a potentially terminal heart defect has died.
Kyah was born with a an extra blood vessel wrapped around her esophagus that made it nearly impossible for her to eat. She went into surgery Tuesday at Oklahoma State University's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, where doctors tried to correct the problem.
The procedure involved opening her chest cavity to locate the problem area. Despite nearly four hours of surgery, Kyah had to be humanely euthanized when attempts to repair the defect were unsuccessful.
"The surgery was risky but critical because her mother, Ellie, was trying to wean her and she wouldn't have thrived without the ability to eat solid foods," said Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino, Zoo director of veterinary services. "Although there were many risks, the surgery was her only chance to survive."
If you would like to share your memories of Kyah, please visit the Zoo's Facebook fan page.