An 18-year-old giraffe at the Living Desert was euthanized Tuesday due to mounting health issues, zoo officials announced.
Hesabu, who came to the Living Desert in November 2002, was one of the oldest male giraffes in human care, according to zoo officials, who said male giraffes in captivity live around 13 years on average.
Living Desert staff said the decision to euthanize Hesabu did not come lightly, and stemmed from “a serious change in his behavior and overall well-being” that was traced to “multiple bone fractures in both front feet.”
Hesabu was the father of nine calves during his 16 years at the Living Desert, with the latest born last August.
“The animal care team is heartbroken over the passing of Hesabu. He was an incredible ambassador for his species,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, the zoo’s animal care director. “As a lover of carrots, he enjoyed the interaction of daily feedings at the giraffe platform and getting nose-to-nose with guests.”