Sacramento Zoo temporarily closed after giraffe dies

Photo: Sacramento Zoo.

The Sacramento Zoo is temporarily closed following the death of one of its four giraffes.

The zoo says Val was found deceased in her sleeping quarters early Saturday. She turned 24 on Valentine's Day (hence the name Val) and was starting to show signs of aging, including lameness in her front left leg and joint deterioration.

Zoo spokeswoman Laurel Vincent says the zoo was closed so the animal care team can focus on transporting the giraffe to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. A necropsy will be performed there to determine the cause of death.

Val is remembered for being the laid-back leader of the herd.

Vincent said the zoo will likely reopen Saturday afternoon and resume regular business hours on Sunday.