One of Banham Zoo's most beloved animals has died.

Fiona the giraffe came to live in Norfolk in 2007 and remained a firm visitor favourite until her death yesterday.

Graeme Williamson, group head of Living Collections for The Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: “Originally born at Fota Zoo in Cork, Ireland, Fiona has been with us for the past fifteen years.

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"She was well-loved by all staff and volunteers who had the pleasure to work with her.

"She was a very confident and placid giraffe who occasionally had a stubborn side."

He added: "She was very intelligent and easily picked up new behaviours, such as the presentation of her hooves for X-rays, eagerly awaiting her reward with patience and not a small amount of slobber.

"She had a long and fruitful life wherein she gave birth to two calves, one male, Victor, and one female, Josie - she was an excellent mother and even took other youngsters under her wing."

He explained that Fiona lived to a very good age for a giraffe but was put to sleep on welfare grounds after battling recurring health problems. 

Mr Williamson said Banham Zoo was "very saddened by her loss" and "will miss her greatly".