A post-mortem is being carried out this afternoon on a nineteen-year-old male giraffe, which died Thursday night at Orana Wildlife Park.
Animal collection manager Ian Adams says the giraffe, named Harold, had been at the park since arriving from Chicago in 1994 and staff are shocked by his death.
Harold was also known outside the park as the mascot of the Life Education Trust.
Mr Adams says Harold was not an old animal and his death is a major loss to the park.
He says Harold, also known as Harry, was managed separately over the past few years as he had less patience as he matured.
Mr Adams says Harold made a fabulous contribution to the zoo-based breeding programme, siring nine offspring, with another on the way.