DENVER TURNS 31: Reid Park Zoo celebrates giraffe’s milestone birthday

DENVER TURNS 31: Reid Park Zoo celebrates giraffe’s milestone birthday
Guests who visited Reid Park Zoo on the giraffe's birthday had the opportunity to measure themselves beside a chalk drawing of Denver. (Source: Reid Park Zoo)

TUCSON, Ariz. - The median life expectancy for giraffes is 19 years, making this a particularly significant birthday to honor.

Denver is the second oldest giraffe participating in the Species Survival Plan for her species.

Denver enjoys participating in positive reinforcement training sessions with her Zoo Keepers. On her birthday she participated in a blood draw session, where our vet team was able to voluntarily obtain a blood sample from her.

This type of training allows our vet team to closely monitor her health in her advanced age, and also provides Denver the opportunity for mental stimulation and to strengthen her relationships with her keepers.

Her keepers describe her as a very patient giraffe who enjoys training sessions and environmental enrichment. Zoo Keepers provide her with enrichment opportunities multiple times a day along with a wide variety of browseable plant species to provide opportunities for natural behaviors and allow her to engage with her environment. Denver also receives supplemental pellets that are high in fat to help maintain her healthy weight.

Denver serves as an important ambassador for wild giraffes. The conservation needs of giraffes have often been overlooked, but wild giraffe populations have decreased by about 30 percent in the last three decades.

Reid Park Zoo partners with the Tarangire Elephant Project in Tanzania works to protect the biodiversity of all wildlife in the Savannah ecosystem, including giraffes, and has protected over 1,000,000 acres of critical habitat to date.

By supporting Reid Park Zoo and participating in events such as our daily giraffe encounters you are helping to support wild giraffe conservation. You can also contribute to the Reid Park Zoo conservation fund to help us further support wildlife conservation efforts.