Denver the Giraffe Celebrates Milestone Birthday

Today is a special day at Reid Park Zoo: Denver the giraffe is celebrating her 32nd birthday.

At 32 years old, Denver is thriving far past the median life expectancy of her species, which is around 19 years for females. Reid Park Zoo is experienced in caring for geriatric animals and provides Denver with specialized care to maintain her good health and welfare.

“Denver’s health is closely monitored and we practice a lot of preventive care,” says giraffe keeper Julia Beres. “She is particularly great about voluntarily participating in her care like allowing for weekly weighing and routine blood draws. She is currently in good health and the only treatment she regularly gets is a daily medication to treat for arthritis.”

Denver is a favorite among Zoo staff, volunteers, and visitors due to her sweet personality.

“She is very sweet and patient with everyone she meets, but also is not afraid to make her opinions known — especially when it comes to food! She will pick around to eat her favorite snacks first and has clear favorites when it comes to species of plants to browse on,” Beres said.

Two young giraffes, Penelope and Sota, joined the herd at Reid Park Zoo in October of 2020. Denver was the first of the adult giraffes to greet the youngsters.

“Denver was very curious about the new giraffes at first, but clearly understood that they were young. She has a lot of experience with young giraffes in her 32 years and it showed during their introductions,” said Beres. “She was patient and gentle, but not afraid to assert her seniority. The three of them are getting along very well now and easily fell into being a little herd. They even train well alongside one another!”

Denver is currently the second oldest giraffe contributing to the giraffe Species Survival Plan. Zoos around the world participate in SSPs for hundreds of species through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage populations within zoos and enhance conservation in the wild. Wild giraffe populations have decreased by around 30% in the last 30 years due mostly to habitat loss and poaching. By supporting Reid Park Zoo you help support giraffe conservation through our partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation for work in Uganda.