PALM DESERT, Calif. — A popular giraffe has died unexpectedly at a Southern California zoo.

Officials say Pona, a 17-year-old male, was found dead Friday at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.

The Desert Sun newspaper says ( ) a necropsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Born at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2000, Pona came to the Living Desert about two years later.

He was the zoo’s tallest giraffe, standing 18 feet, and weighed just over 2,000 pounds.

Giraffes in captivity can live up to 28 years.

Information from: The Desert Sun,

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.