One of Fota Wildlife Park's most beloved creatures, Tadhg, a Rothschild's giraffe, passed away. He was 16 years old.

Rothschild's giraffe are a subspecies and one of the most endangered distinct populations, with a mere 1600 individuals estimated to be living in the wild and a further 500 in wildlife parks as of 2016.

Fota Wildlife Park confirmed the news of the animal's passing to Cork's Evening Echo News.

Aidan Rafferty, Lead Ranger at the 100 acre non-profit wildlife park said Tadhg had passed away from what looks like heart failure.

Acknowledged as a calm and graceful giraffe, Tadhg was born in 2001 in Hamburg Zoo, Germany, before being moved to Ireland in May 2004.

According to Rafferty, Tadhg proved to be a "great sire whose legacy will live on in his many offspring at Fota and other zoological parks."

Tadhg, center.

Tadhg, center.

He contributed to the European Endangered Species Breeding Programmes (EEP) by siring 23 offspring including, Fada, Aoife, Blaithín and the latest Rothschild giraffe arrival, Noinín, who was born last spring. He is also responsible for 17 "grandchildren".

Joshua feeding Tadhg and sapphire x

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Tadhg, the Rotschild's Giraffe, of Fota Island Wildlife ParkGearoid O'Sullivan/Fota Island Wildlife