Omaha Zoo announces loss of resident giraffe

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OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is mourning the loss of one of its giraffes.

The Zoo said its saddened by the loss of the male giraffe, Sam, on Tuesday, November 13 in the morning. He lived as part of a herd at the African Grasslands exhibit. Sam, 17, was born July 23, 2001 at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Sam has had a history of degenerative joint disease for several years. He has been on a variety of treatments to minimize his discomfort during that time. He has been carefully monitored by the animal care team and the animal health team, however, this disease was progressive. The condition and progressive degeneration of his joints was tracked by X-ray as well as behavioral and other indicators until concern for the animal’s welfare required humane euthanasia.

Visitors may have noticed the Giraffe Herd Rooms were temporarily closed today.

Sam was a crowd favorite and will be missed by keepers and visitors. He was an important member of the SSP (Species Survival Plan) as he sired multiple births.

There is currently one male and nine females at the African Grasslands habitat at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium including his mom, Daisy, 25, and daughter Penelope, 11 months.