Zoo Boise officials report that Julius Longfellow, the zoo’s 11-year-old male giraffe, was euthanized Thursday. Julius fell early in the morning and efforts to get him back up were unsuccessful, so the difficult decision was made to euthanize him, according to a Zoo Boise news release.
A necropsy will be performed, but it will be weeks before a final report regarding what led to Thursday’s incident is released.
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, officials said.
The giraffe was named Julius in honor of a donor. He was also given a last name, Longfellow, in recognition of the fundraising efforts of Longfellow Elementary School in Boise.
“This is a devastating day for the Zoo Boise family and the entire Boise community,” said Zoo Boise director Steve Burns. “Julius Longfellow was beloved by visitors of all ages. He was a part of our family and we will miss him.”
The median life expectancy for male giraffes in zoos is 13.5 years. 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. The hope is to find another giraffe to live with Jabari, but there are no immediate plans at this time, according to the news release.