The World Heath Organization said on Thursday that a giraffes heart condition was becoming increasingly dangerous, with the giraffe in captivity in South Africa being hospitalized for nearly seven weeks.
The giraffe in question, known as Rolo, was kept in a cage for six years at a zoo in Pretoria, South Africa, and was euthanized on Aug. 26, according to the WHO.
The animal was suffering from a condition that can cause severe heart failure, which can cause cardiac arrest and ultimately death.
The organization said it would be the first time in history that a member of a protected species had died in captivity.
“Rolo was suffering under a severe heart condition and died in July 2018,” said Dr. Kees Van der Meer, WHO’s Director-General for International Health.
“In a very short period of time, Rolo had suffered from a very serious heart condition that was deteriorating rapidly.
He was unable to exercise, had a poor appetite and was vomiting constantly.
The zoo authorities decided to euthanize him after a number of tests revealed that he had serious heart failure,” he added.
The WHO said Rolo was born in 1987 and was given a name and a gender at birth.
His mother died in 2013, leaving him with a younger brother, who also died in the womb.
The zoo, which has since been closed, was established in 1988 and was the world’s oldest zoo until a court decision in the 1980s allowed it to reopen.
It has been the subject of international criticism for its treatment of giraffals, who are among the world´s most endangered animals.
Rolo died at the age of 45, the WHO said.