CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Hillcrest Park Zoo in Clovis is mourning the loss of its 22-year-old Rothschild’s giraffe, Jael.

The City of Clovis announced Jael’s passing on Saturday. Preliminary examinations are underway and veterinary experts are investigating the cause of Jael’s passing. “While this is a difficult time for all of us at Hillcrest Park Zoo and the City of Clovis, we would like to continue to assure the community that the well-being of our animals is our top priority,” said Stephanie Chavez, curator of Hillcrest Park Zoo, stated in a news release from the city. “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jael’s passing, and we will keep the public informed as we gather more information.”

Jael was the mother of Jerrica, who is housed in the giraffe enclosure that was constructed for them at the Hillcrest Park Zoo.

Rothschild’s giraffes, named after the famous British zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild, are a unique and endangered subspecies known for their distinctive markings and towering stature. Typically, giraffes in zoos have a lifespan of around 20 to 25 years, according to the news release.

The city said further updates regarding the investigation will be shared as they become available.