SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. - He had a tongue that touched thousands of hearts.
"Murphy to the end was Murphy, always accepting lettuce. Always inquisitive about guests. What set him apart from other giraffes is he was so brave," said Lehigh Valley Zoo curator Maggie Morse.
Murphy, the Lehigh Valley Zoo's 20-year-old Masai giraffe, was euthanized Monday. He had suffered health issues since 2019.
A growing and edible memorial sits outside his barn. Online, thousands are offering support and sharing stories and pictures of the lovable, spotted giant, who also made a mark in our Adopt Lehigh Valley Kids series.
"His intelligence, his bravery, his overall goofiness, it's something our guests could pick up, but knowing him personally, was an honor to work with him in my career," Morse said.
The giraffe feeding tower was a place Murphy connected with people. Now there is Tatoo, he's big enough and old enough and the zoo hopes to restart the practice later this summer.
Tatoo was one 1 when Murphy moved in in 2017.
"He got to teach him the ropes on being an adult giraffe. So we are spending time closely, watching to make sure he's okay," Morse said.
Details of Murphy's final resting place will come following a necropsy.
CEO and Zoo President Amanda Shurr says being part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums makes it easier to home a new giraffe.
"Does put us in such a broad network of zoos across North America. We have a contact list of people that we will speak with specifically about a Masai giraffe," she explained.
Until then, for those that come for a picture, Tatoo puts a twist on the phrase Murphy's law.