Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is saddened by the loss of a female Giraffe, Daisy, today, Dec. 18. She was 26 years, 9 months, and 11 days old. Daisy is the oldest giraffe ever to live at Omaha’s Zoo & Aquarium.
The average life expectancy for a female giraffe is about 20.2 years and for a male is about 14.7 years. According to Zoological Information Management Software (ZIMS), the oldest, currently living giraffe in North America is 31 years old and lives at Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.
Daisy was born on March 7, 1993, and has been a resident of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium since Nov. 1, 1994. She is the mother to three calves, grandmother to seven, and great-grandmother to five. Daisy’s daughter, Dottie, and granddaughters LoLo, Zoey, and Penelope live in the African Grasslands habitat at the Zoo. Other members of her family have been moved to different zoos as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan.
After assessing her quality of life with severe degenerative joint disease, the decision to humanely euthanize Daisy was made by the Zoo’s animal health team, with input from the keeper staff who worked with her daily. She had been losing weight and showing signs of her deteriorating health, including becoming unsteady.
After spending nearly all of her 26 years in Omaha, Daisy was seen by millions of Zoo visitors and was an ambassador for conservation. Daisy’s offspring continue to support the sustainability of her species in zoos making her a very valuable member of AZA Species Survival Plan for giraffes.
Sadly, in the wild, giraffe numbers have been decreasing rapidly. Daisy was a Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa reticulata), one of four giraffe species, that are now listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List with less than 16,000 in the wild. Our Zoo continues to support giraffe conservation in Africa by partnering with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the only non-governmental organization (NGO) in the world that concentrates their efforts solely on giraffe in the wild across Africa.