Celebrate World Giraffe Day with us, June 21, 2024!
On the longest day of the year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo will celebrate the longest-necked animal: the giraffe! On Fri., June 21, giraffe keepers and staff from the International Center for the Care and Conservation of Giraffe (The Giraffe Center) are throwing a daylong event to commemorate World Giraffe Day.

“This is our way of thanking our community for their dedication to our herd, our Zoo and our conservation partners all year long,” says Diana Miller, giraffe specialist at The Giraffe Center. “We have a ton of inspiring activities planned!”

There will be many giraffe-themed activities along the giraffe plaza and the giraffe boardwalk, where guests can learn about CMZoo’s giraffe herd and take direct steps to save wild giraffe. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., several giraffe-themed activities are free for anyone with a ticket to the Zoo. Guests who want to participate in the giraffe fan parade should be sure to get a ticket for 10 a.m. or earlier. A full schedule of events is available at https://www.cmzoo.org/world-giraffe-day/.

Watch for signs on how to navigate through African Rift Valley as we embark on our exciting giraffe habitat improvements, scheduled to start in mid-June. Learn more about the giraffe herd’s future home and consider supporting it here: cmzoo.org/giraffeproject

By visiting the Zoo, guests and members can help save giraffe on World Giraffe Day and every day. Through CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) program, every admission to the Zoo raises 75¢ for conservation. Since 2008, guests and members have raised more than $5 million for frontline conservation partners and projects around the world.

Wild giraffe - Photo credit: Musiime Muramura, Uganda Wildlife Authority
Photo credit: Musiime Muramura, Uganda Wildlife Authority

Giraffe are one of CMZoo’s legacy Q4C projects, so an easy way to support giraffe conservation is to simply visit the Zoo. Specifically, CMZoo visitors are supporting Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and their important work studying and protecting wild giraffe, growing populations, advocating government protections and policies for giraffe, and educating and empowering communities who live near wild giraffe.

“In the past year, members’ and guests’ Q4C funds supported additional anti-poaching efforts by funding a new GCF veterinary vehicle to respond to snaring and poaching,” says Diana. “We still have a long way to go, but it’s working, too. With this support, the latest surveys show that the population of wild giraffe is increasing steadily.”

With Q4C support, GCF continues to monitor giraffe populations in Uganda, in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Recent surveys indicate that all four populations of giraffe in Uganda are increasing in number, with seven new calves reported in Lake Mburo National Park, seven calves in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, thirteen calves in Kidepo Valley National Park, and four hundred calves in Murchison Falls National Park.

“I keep having to tell people that’s not a typo,” Diana says. “There really are four hundred calves documented in the population in Murchison Falls National Park. That population is an excellent example of what can happen when all of the delicate conservation puzzle pieces fit together well.”

In addition to fieldwork and local communities’ buy-in to coexisting with giraffe, an important piece of the conservation puzzle is public support and funding. Zoos play a vital role by inspiring people all over the world to care for wildlife and wild places – and with programs like Q4C, zoos can connect funding from inspired people to frontline organizations who can make the impact.

International Center for Care and Conservation of Giraffe workshop in Giraffe Barn at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

“Nobody helps guests fall in love with giraffe as well as our herd can,” Diana says. “From confident Tumbili to curious Wednesday, sassy Azmera and wise Mahali, the giraffe at CMZoo have inspired countless people to care for their wild counterparts. They have the most important jobs here at the Zoo, and our job is to take good care of them.”

CMZoo’s herd receives top-of-the-line care with hoof care and husbandry training programs that continue to lead the profession. After more than a decade sharing methods with other giraffe care teams, CMZoo established The Giraffe Center to serve as a resource for all giraffe care professionals. The Giraffe Center offers in-person and online husbandry and hoof care trainings, as well as customized consultations for giraffe care teams all over the world.

“We love traveling to other facilities to see how they do things, brainstorm problem solving with them, share what works for us and discuss what we’ve learned from other organizations,” says Amy Schilz, senior animal behaviorist at The Giraffe Center. “But, there’s nothing like being with your home herd. Our giraffe are such rockstars at training, so our annual workshops here at CMZoo are a lot of fun.”

At the end of May, The Giraffe Center hosted another giraffe behavior workshop at CMZoo with Behavior Works. The behavior workshop is a continuation from the introductory giraffe care workshop. At the behavior workshop, Amy and The Giraffe Center team help giraffe care professionals build upon the fundamental teachings they learn from the intro giraffe care workshop by getting hands-on with members of the CMZoo herd.

Giraffe mingling at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

“CMZoo’s investment in The Giraffe Center has been fulfilling because we know we’re making giraffes’ lives better,” Amy says. “Seeing our workshop attendees work with our giraffe to learn how it should look to trim a hoof, and then hearing about their giraffe’s improved mobility at home after they’ve applied what they learn is so rewarding.”

The network and collaboration between giraffe organizations goes both ways. Amy and Diana have been instrumental in the design of the new barn that will soon stand tall in African Rift Valley at CMZoo. The team has traveled internationally to share best practices of giraffe care and to observe how others’ facilities and environments can best support a herd.

“We’re focused on environmental enrichment for all of our animals at the Zoo,” says Amy. “With a brand-new giraffe barn coming to CMZoo soon, we’re going to be able to fine-tune building and yard features that we’ve seen work elsewhere as we build this environment from the ground up. It’s happening soon, and we’re really excited to help it come together.”

The 10,000-square-foot giraffe barn’s design is in final considerations. Guests and members should expect to see changes to African Rift Valley start soon, and continue for the next few years as The Giraffe Center takes shape.

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If you’ve ever wondered if animals have blood types, you’re not the only one! The International Center for the Care and Conservation of Giraffe, at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (The Giraffe Center), recently teamed up with Dr. Lily Parkinson, clinical veterinarian at Brookfield Zoo Chicago, and several more giraffe care teams to help find out. Dr. Parkinson is leading a study to see if giraffe have different blood types and if it is common for giraffe to have compatible blood types.

“In small animal emergency medicine, blood typing is common knowledge,” said Brenda Cordova, RVT, hospital manager at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. “In our larger zoo animals, we’ve never really had the opportunity to find out, because we haven’t had as much access to test their blood on a large scale like this. Now that so many giraffe are trained to participate in voluntary blood draws, this could lead to some really exciting discoveries that help us fine-tune giraffe care even more.”

Dr. Parkinson says different molecules that live on the surface of red blood cells make one blood type different from another – in people and in animals. An animal’s immune system can attack anything it perceives is a ‘foreign invader.’ If the immune system detects different molecules on transfused blood cells, the body might attack those red blood cells and destroy them.

Typically, before a blood transfusion, care teams will draw the recipient’s blood and mix it with a drop of already processed plasma from the donor. Veterinary teams will watch for reactions between the two bloods and move ahead if there are no obvious negative reactions.

“Many people know about the incredible nationwide giraffe plasma bank that can help treat newborn giraffe calves that need extra help,” said Dr. Parkinson. “The findings from this blood typing study could take that science another step further to help us give these calves the most compatible and helpful plasma transfusions.”

This study hopes to reveal how to test giraffe for compatible blood types. If giraffe do have different blood types, giraffe care teams could do additional testing to have better confirmations that a donor’s blood isn’t going to harm the recipient.

To achieve dependable findings in a study like this, you need a lot of data. In this case, that requires a lot of giraffe willing to donate their blood. Dr. Parkinson reached out to Amy Schilz, senior animal behaviorist at The Giraffe Center and giraffe care co-manager at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, to help her enlist volunteers.

“When Dr. Lily reached out for potential contributors for this study, it was a perfect example of how The Giraffe Center can serve as a central resource for all things giraffe care,” said Schilz. “Because we have worked with so many giraffe care teams across the country, we already knew which herds are trained to give blood voluntarily, and we knew how to get everyone together for this important study that supports what we all want: to take the best care possible of giraffe.”

A few phone calls and a multi-zoo video conference later, 13 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and one private facility were on board to contribute to the study. In the end, around 60 giraffe voluntarily submitted blood for the study.

Seven of those samples came from giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Schilz, the giraffe care team in African Rift Valley and the CMZoo veterinary team came together over a few days to gather those samples, leaning on their established training and relationships with the long-necked donors named Mashama, Msitu, Twiga, Bailey, Laikipia, Muziki and 1-year-old Wednesday.

“This was Wednesday’s first time giving blood, and she was incredible,” said Schliz. “There was a hush that fell over the barn when we saw her approach her team with such trust and remain completely unbothered throughout the session. This little giraffe is already making a big impact. We are so impressed with her.”

The blood draw sessions are voluntary and the participating giraffe at CMZoo are eager to earn the reinforcers – usually yummy rye crackers – they receive during training sessions. They can choose to walk away at any time, and our veterinary technicians use a specialized blood draw setup so the needle falls out if the giraffe walks away.

“It goes to show how important it is to proactively train for these volunteer behaviors,” said Cordova. “Training allows us to take the best care of the animals as individuals, and it also allows us to respond to these calls to contribute to the greater giraffe community’s shared knowledge.”

As giraffe care teams learn more about blood typing for giraffe, CMZoo will share updates.

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Six life-sized bronze giraffe sculptures will welcome guests to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, as part of the new admissions and giraffe habitat updates happening in the coming years – and their creation is a tall order.

“I’ve been using a lot of ladders,” said Antonia Chastain, public art manager at CMZoo. “These are the largest sculptures I’ve ever done, and it’s quite a process. We have probably years ahead of us in this creation. But it’s exciting to see the first one coming together now, and the plan is to unveil them as part of the hundred-year anniversary of the Zoo, in 2026.”

The sculptures started as six-inch clay thumbnail sketches. Once the team was happy with the general design, Chastain sculpted detailed four-foot clay maquettes. To create the most lifelike sculptures, she relied on the expertise of the giraffe team to portray giraffe attitudes and postures correctly.

Chastain spends weeks with the CMZoo giraffe team, leaning on the giraffe herd’s voluntary hoof care behaviors to measure the giraffe. They measure from hoof to knee, around the diameters of their calves, the lengths of their tails, legs, necks and more, to get the proportions right in the maquettes phase. Known for her attention to detail, Chastain also meticulously studied and sculpted eyelid wrinkles, hair, hoof texture, spots and skin folds.

“Then, you need to make sure the four-foot models’ knees and ankles are proportional, because if you enlarge them to five times the size for the final sculptures, you could end up with knees that look like elephant knees above ankles made for giraffe,” said Chastain. “It’s so important that the proportions are correct.”

To create the next size up, the foundry artists scan the four-foot clay models into a 3-D printer that produces foam pieces five times their size – one piece at a time. The foam pieces are reconstructed into a life-sized full giraffe, then Chastain reapplies a layer of clay to the huge replicas. Once every detail is carved back into the clay, the team casts each piece in bronze and welds them together.

The one being sculpted in its final size now is posed bending down to nuzzle her calf, and she is ten feet tall at the curve of her neck. The other mother giraffe sculptures are posed more upright, and will be around 18 feet tall when they’re finished.

As of now, the plan is to create three visual stories of mother giraffe and their calves. The statue of Penny, a giraffe calf who inspired millions during her short life at CMZoo, will move from its current location by the giraffe barn to become part of this larger display. The three mother giraffe and two additional giraffe calf statues are not representations of any individual giraffe. However, especially attentive giraffe fans might notice spot patterns, poses or ossicone shapes inspired by other giraffe from CMZoo.

“The various poses are homages to their nurturing instinct and the special connection between mother and baby,” said Chastain. “One set is stretching towards each other to nuzzle face-to-face and there’s a line between their necks that’s just beautiful form and flow. The third pair is a nod to when kids are little and they’re shy to meet someone new. Their instinct is to lean against mom for security, kind of a ‘hold my hand’ feel.”

As the sculptures continue to take shape and eventually make their way to the Zoo, CMZoo will share updates.

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February is International Hoof Care Month, so come behind the scenes for an up-close look at giraffe hoof care training! Hoof care is important for the overall health of all hoofstock animals. Brushing, picking, and trimming contribute to maintaining healthy hooves, directly influencing the health of a giraffe’s entire body. At CMZoo, keepers have built trust with the giraffe herd through positive reinforcement, offering them the choice to train with their favorite crackers or walk away.

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In early November, the International Center for the Care and Conservation of Giraffe (The Giraffe Center) traveled to Bristol Zoo, in the United Kingdom, to host their first giraffe care workshop abroad. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo established The Giraffe Center in 2022 to serve as a resource for giraffe caregivers worldwide.

“We have hosted giraffe care workshops all over the U.S. and virtually with teams in other countries, but Bristol Zoo’s workshop was our first international in-person outreach,” said Amy Schilz, senior animal behaviorist at The Giraffe Center. “It’s really helpful for us to work hands-on with teams and their giraffe herds in their facilities. Our training and care teachings share a common foundation, but we can understand their challenges and obstacles better when we experience them, which means we’re better able to customize their training.”

Through their combined decades in the giraffe care field, The Giraffe Center team had previous working relationships with a Bristol Zoo giraffe keeper, who managed logistics for the workshop in England so The Giraffe Center team could focus on the 4-day workshop curriculum. Attendees included Bristol Zoo’s giraffe care team and British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Giraffe Focus Group members. The workshop included lecture-style presentations, group discussions, role-playing and actual practice focused on giraffe nutrition, natural behaviors, hoof anatomy and care, and positive reinforcement training.

“Just like when we’re training animals, we use small approximations to move through training steps with our workshop attendees,” said Diana Miller, giraffe specialist at The Giraffe Center. “Before we start training with the giraffe, we practice hands-on with humans, so we’re presenting the best polished training to the giraffe. Instead of realizing questions you need to ask while you’re working with a giraffe, you can recognize what you don’t know while you’re practicing with a human.”

Practicing hoof care on humans isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Attendees move through the motions they will present to giraffe, with Schilz and Miller guiding them. They role play where they’ll stand, where the giraffe needs to stand, how they’ll hold their target stick and hoof trimming tools, how they’ll deliver verbal and physical cues, how they’ll access reinforcers – like crackers or carrots – and how quickly to reinforce the right behaviors. They also practice trimming hooves on cadaver hooves from reputable sources.

“The fact that Bristol Zoo invested in this workshop shows how dedicated their team is,” said Schilz. “When we started working with their giraffe, it was even more obvious how strong their relationships are with their keepers. The Bristol Zoo giraffe were comfortable, social and engaged, and that gives us a great foundation to build upon with new or different techniques.”

In positive reinforcement training, one of the first questions The Giraffe Center team asks themselves is, ‘what does the animal need to know in order to know something else?’ Because giraffe are often food motivated, the first thing they need to know is how to eat politely.

“Teaching a giraffe to eat and stay still while they’re eating is a prerequisite for blood draws, ultrasounds, hoof care and more voluntary behaviors,” said Miller. “It’s a lot harder than you think to teach that. You’re learning to communicate as a giraffe-caregiver team, and you’re finding a balance between maintaining their excitement for the reward food item and teaching them they can trust that we will deliver it when they stand still.”

The teams worked together to make progress on hoof care, stand-still behavior, target training and more. They also shared insight on giraffe nutrition and natural foraging behaviors, and other topics central to good giraffe welfare in human care.

The Giraffe Center team’s experience with their first overseas workshop further ignited their passion for giraffe care and for supporting the people who can truly make a difference in setting the standard for excellent giraffe care.

“In 2015, when we were starting training programs, we were focused on showing people what’s possible,” said Schilz. “Now, we’re really honing our teaching skills. We’re constantly pursuing education, connecting with other experts in our field and sharing what we’re learning, so we can be the best central resource for other giraffe organizations.”

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo made an investment in The Giraffe Center that gives all giraffe caregivers access to a dedicated team focused entirely on giraffe care and conservation.

“The more we host these workshops, the more we learn and share,” said Miller. “It’s all about creative collaboration. We take the same science and apply it differently depending on the animals, humans and environment they are in. That’s our goal for the Giraffe Center – to be a custom-built resource for other giraffe care teams.”

The Giraffe Center is booking workshops for giraffe care teams and giraffe enthusiasts globally. For more information, visit cmzoo.org/giraffecare.

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They may be tall but Viv, Kay, and Wednesday are the littles of the giraffe herd. Their zoomies, curiosity and bold personalities breathe energy into the herd. Viv, Kay and Wednesday are besties and munch, nap, play and even train together. Each giraffe is at a slightly different level of hoof care training and blood draw training but they are all learning how to voluntarily participate in their own healthcare.

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Step up to the hoof block with Wednesday, our 10-month-old reticulated giraffe. As students around Colorado head back to school from summer break, our partners at Children’s Hospital Colorado have provided some excellent tips for helping kids settle into the routine.

At CMZoo, keeper teams help animals succeed as students, too! 10 months old may seem young to start studying, but Wednesday’s team wasted no time helping her learn foundational husbandry behaviors that will allow her to voluntarily participate in her own healthcare for the rest of her life.

Way to go, Wednesday!

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Mahali, a 20-year-old male giraffe at CMZoo, is showing signs of reduced mobility and range of motion. While his care team supports him with pain medications and a sand-mix stall to rest comfortably on each night, veterinary and animal care teams have made the decision to move into a mindset of providing hospice care for him. This is a difficult decision for his team.

“He’s still having more good days than bad days, and although we know how quickly that could change, we’re focused on giving him every possible bonus day he can comfortably have,” said Jason Bredahl, animal care manager in African Rift Valley at CMZoo. “That also means we have decided not to provide extreme medical intervention going forward.”

Mahali has benefitted from his medical team going to great lengths for him in the past. For many years, he voluntarily participated in training for hoof care, blood draws and even applying orthopedic shoes to his hooves. In 2017 and 2020, Mahali went under anesthesia to receive simultaneous multiple treatments for his reoccurring foot and leg issues. Those risky, meticulously planned procedures successfully helped him heal and return to a good quality of life.

“Without his most recent treatment, in 2020, we might not have had these last three years with him,” said Bredahl. ” Mahali is doing well, considering his individual challenges, but we know he won’t be here forever and his time may come sooner than later. Right now, we’re committed to making him comfortable, and providing opportunities to be as active as possible and social with his herd.”

Mahali takes oral anti-inflammation and pain medications – in yummy rye cracker-and-honey ‘sandwiches.’ His team tracks quality-of-life data markers that they discuss regularly to ensure Mahali is still able to do things that fulfill him as a giraffe and as an individual. The team tracks Mahali’s specific activities daily and overnight, so they can adjust medications or activity levels for him as needed.

“We want to see Mahali finding areas to stand and rest more comfortably, interacting with the herd, walking, eating, sleeping, lying down and getting up safely,” said Bredahl. “On days we see he’s a little stiffer, we might encourage him to stay in the barn on a nice soft sand-mix stall, and he may agree that it’s a rest day or he may decide to go outside. He still participates and moves to spaces when we ask him, but he’s still making choices in his care.”

Mahali’s care team says he’s still making them laugh with his antics, too. He may have slowed down as he has aged, but they still see a twinkle in his eye and respect his position in the herd.

“When he was younger, he was a very physical giraffe,” said Brehahl. “He was tactile in those days, and he would push other giraffe out of the way to position himself front-and-center with his care team. He’d pull on our shirts with his lips to get our attention, and to interact with us and get snacks. These days, he seems more content in his own space.”

Mahali’s keepers say he has become more discerning in his golden years, and he only accepts certain food items as training rewards. If they offer lettuce as an incentive, he spits it out with a seemingly intentional aim for the keeper who offered it to him. Then he huffs at them until they reset for a behavior that will earn him his favorite: rye crackers. They have to save the crackers for the big training asks, like curling his hoof on the hoof block so they can visually check his feet, but Mahali doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind them he’d rather not waste his time on lettuce.

“You’ve got to admire the guy – he knows his worth,” said Bredahl. “He’s a big giraffe and a big presence in the herd, and we’re grateful for every day we will have with him.”

Mahali is one of five giraffe in CMZoo’s herd over the age of 20 – four years and more over the median life expectancy. Nearly one-third of the herd is considered aging. Females Muziki (25), Amani (24), Twiga (23) and Lakeisha (23) are the eldest members of the herd, and all receive various levels of care for age-related issues, depending on their individual needs.

The median life expectancy for a giraffe, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is 16 years. Until recent data, which combines the median life expectancy for males and females, the AZA median life expectancy for a male giraffe was 14.7 years.

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On Wednesday, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo said goodbye to Msichana [muh-SCHAW-nuh], a nearly 21-year-old female reticulated giraffe. After months of successful treatment for age-related issues, Msichana declined quickly over her last two days, and her care team made the difficult, but compassionate, decision to humanely euthanize her.

Msichana was well-known among CMZoo members and online fans, with her signature tongue-out appearance and her role as a companion to newborn calves and new members of the herd. She was born at CMZoo in 2002, and had one male calf of her own, named Kipawa, in 2013.

Because she was composed and confident, she was the herd’s welcome committee. New herd members would arrive and join her in a quiet part of the barn, and she was usually the first to meet newborn giraffe with their moms.
Being social animals, new giraffe found comfort in Msichana’s presence, and they could learn their way around the barn and yard by following her guidance as they settled in. When newborn calves were ready to start meeting other members of the herd, she was first – and even had sleepovers with moms and calves in the barn’s nursery stall.

“There were a lot of reasons to admire Msichana, but I think we’re most grateful for her contributions to our herd and to our knowledge of giraffe care,” said Savannah Woods, animal keeper in African Rift Valley. “She had a really special calm and nurturing demeanor. For calves and new giraffe, she made their first experience with us a safe one, and their relationships with her gave them the confidence to meet some of the more energetic giraffe in the herd. We could always count on Msichana to act as a ‘nanny,’ showing calves that other giraffe are friends, and helping new moms feel comfortable with their calves meeting other giraffe.”

Msichana’s role as a guide also translated to her relationship with her keepers. Most animals at CMZoo participate in voluntary husbandry training, and Msichana was one of the best. She participated in hoof care, stood for x-rays and allowed her team to take blood draws. She was an excellent learner, but, “Mishy Girl,” as her keepers called her, also taught her care team valuable lessons about training giraffe. Those lessons have shaped their training program and benefitted giraffe around the world, through the Zoo’s International Center for the Care and Conservation of Giraffe workshops and in-person giraffe trainings.

“She was definitely sweet and gentle, but she was also assertive,” said Woods. “I was lucky to have all of my ‘firsts’ as a giraffe trainer with ‘Mishy Girl.’ Because she was so clear about communicating what she needed from us or didn’t want to do, she set the bar for individualizing care for animals. She showed us that we can’t train one giraffe and presume we know how to train all giraffe. They’re individuals, and they need individual training and care programs. We owe a lot of our ability to read animals’ behaviors to what she taught us.”

Msichana was typically eager to train, but Woods also recalls being humbled by Msichana’s clear communication of her priorities.

“One day, a few guests were feeding her lettuce in the barn and after a little while, I asked her to come over to train with me,” said Woods. “She turned her ears back toward me, clearly hearing me calling her, and then turned and looked at me. She was weighing her options. It was an easy decision and she turned right back to the guests and stayed with them. When they left, she came right over to train, but she let me know who was in charge, for sure. I love that she knew she could make that choice, and that she knew she could say ‘no’.”

Because she was a strong and social ambassador with guests, Msichana has helped hundreds of thousands of people make special connections with her species, during her time on the mountain. She taught other giraffe how to do that, too, so her legacy as a teacher in the herd will live on through them and through the guests that come and fall in love with her species.

“I would call it a once-in-a-lifetime relationship, and she was a once-in-a-lifetime giraffe,” said Woods.

The median life expectancy for giraffe in human care, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is nearly 16 years. Msichana would have turned 21 on Sept. 21, 2023.

About Giraffe Conservation

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes giraffe as vulnerable to extinction, while two northern subspecies are considered critically endangered. Reticulated giraffe (the subspecies found at CMZoo) and Masai giraffe are endangered. According to recent reports, wild giraffe populations have grown 20 percent since 2015, with around 117,000 individual wild giraffe documented. But, there’s still work to be done.

Every visit to CMZoo is conservation in action. 75¢ from every ticket goes to the Zoo’s Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) program, which has raised more than $4.5 million for frontline conservation efforts around the world since 2008, including for giraffe conservation efforts.

Q4C helps support a multi-organizational giraffe conservation project in Uganda, called Operation Twiga. Operation Twiga began in 2016 to give giraffe a better chance of survival by establishing new populations of giraffe in safe habitats, in partnership with Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Uganda Wildlife Authority and others. Operation Twiga V (2020) was a continuation of Operation Twiga IV (2019), which CMZoo staff attended to assist with anesthesia and moving the giraffe from threatened habitats to safer locations. Both giraffe translocations contributed to populations in Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve, an historic habitat in Uganda where giraffe hadn’t existed for more than 20 years. Ongoing Q4C funding supports the teams who continue to monitor and protect these newly established wild populations.

About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. In 2023, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #4 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #2 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Since 2008, CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation program has raised more than $4.5 million dedicated to frontline conservation efforts around the world. Of the 238 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one