21-year-old Tulsa Zoo Giraffe Dies

A Tulsa Zoo giraffe, an ambassador for the site, passed away Saturday, June 15.

Samburu, a 21-year-old giraffe, was born at the Tulsa Zoo in 1992. According to a new release from the zoo, Sam's health had been in decline due to degenerative osteoarthritis, which is not uncommon for large-bodied animals.

Recently, Sam experienced a sudden major decline in mobility and ability to stand comfortably. Sam had a fractured foot, which according to zoo staff, are difficult to treat in large animals and can become serious very quickly.

Animal care and veterinary staff determined that the 2,500 pound giraffe's quality of life had diminished. Samburu was humanely euthanized yesterday.

"Our Tulsa Zoo staff and volunteers understandably developed strong bonds with Sam and this is an extremely difficult time for the zoo family, "said Joe Barkowski, VP of Animal Conservation and Science. "He also had a very special place in the hearts of zoo guests and members, which we all observed firsthand when we celebrated his 21st birthday just last month."

Two other giraffes, 6-year-old Lexi and 4-year-old Pili call the Tulsa Zoo home.

In memory of Sam, friends can share their memories at the zoo's giraffe exhibit and on the zoo's Facebook page.