Tamu, oldest giraffe in North America, dies at the Colorado zoo

The oldest giraffe in North America, died Thursday at a zoo in Colorado at the age of 32.
(Cheyenne Mountain Zoo / Facebook)

The oldest giraffe living in North America, died Thursday at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

Tamu, a female reticulated giraffe, died of natural causes at the age of 32, surrounded by caretakers and the veterinary staff, the zoo said in a statement. Although Tamu was considered geriatric, her health declined quickly and unexpectedly beginning at 11 am, until her death on 1 p.m.

“She was the most beautiful giraffe on the planet,” said Jason Bredahl, animal care manager. “She would sit under the save hut and eat lettuce all day long and made of millions of people’s days. If you are a giraffe selfie on your phone, there is a good chance that with Tamu. She has been a guest favorite, for sure.”

Guests and staff affectionately referred to the giraffe, who first arrived at the zoo in April 2003, as the “Moose” or “Granny” because of her “big heart” and “soft” character, ” the statement said.

Easy to recognize by its dark, busy eyebrows, Tamu was due to celebrate her 33rd birthday on Dec. 28, FOX31 Denver reported.

In her life, Tamu gave birth to six calves, leaving behind a legacy of 29 grandcalves, nine great-grandcalves, and one great-great-grandcalf.

“She will be missed so much,” said Amy Schilz, senior giraffe keeper. “She was really, really smart. Yesterday she was participating in the training for hoof care. She had a big heart.”

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