Julius Longfellow, named for a donor and fund-raising help from Longfellow Elementary School, was 11 years old and had lived at Zoo Boise for more than eight years.
“This is a devastating day for ... the entire Boise community,” zoo Director Steve Burns said in a late-morning news release Thursday. “Julius Longfellow was beloved by visitors of all ages. He was a part of our family, and we will miss him.”
Zoo officials made the “difficult decision to euthanize him” Thursday after the giraffe fell early that morning and efforts to get him back up were unsuccessful, according to the news release. A necropsy will be performed, but zoo officials say it could be weeks before they know what caused the injury.
Julius arrived at Zoo Boise in December, 2008 from the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio. Private donations covered the costs to purchase and ship the giraffe to Boise. In just two weeks, the zoo received $32,000 in contributions.
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The median life expectancy for male giraffes in zoos is 13.5 years, the zoo reports. In the wild, the median life expectancy for male giraffes generally ranges between 14 and 20 years, though numbers vary.
Zoo Boise still has one male giraffe, Jabari, who is 7 years old. Zoo leaders hope to find another giraffe to live with Jabari, but there are no immediate plans, according to the news release.