A heavy-hearted announcement arrived Thursday afternoon from the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul. One of their most beloved animals has passed away.

They announced through their Facebook page that Daisey, a 23-year-old female Giraffe, had died after battling severe degenerative arthritis. Caregivers at the zoo note that for a large herbivore who spends 20 hours a day on her feet, it is a crippling condition.

They observed that it had affected her mobility, and her ability to rest and that she was in pain. Much to their credit, the Como animal care staff and veterinary staff worked together on a pain management plan, which kept Daisy comfortable for as long as possible as she managed her degenerative arthritis.

Despite their best efforts, poor Daisy's quality of life continued to decline and it finally reached the point where they made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her Thursday morning. Daisy was surrounded by those who loved and knew her best.

“Daisy was a strong, beautiful matriarch – quick to judge and slow to accept her human coworkers” said Senior Zookeeper Jill Erzar. “She was a fierce and protective mother who would do anything to keep her calves safe. She was an extraordinary ambassador for giraffe, helping us connect visitors to her wild counterparts by telling her story.”

While it is a tragic day, the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory can take pride in the amazing Daisy received there. Daisy lived to an age that is considered geriatric for a giraffe, which is a testament to her team of caregivers.

Courtesy of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory/ Photo credit: Susannah Baudhuin
Courtesy of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory/ Photo credit: Susannah Baudhuin

Daisy came to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory from San Diego Wild Animal Park in October 2002 at almost 3 years old on a breeding recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP). Daisy had eight calves in her lifetime, many of which are living around the country in other AZA Accredited zoos.

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory that Daisy was the matriarch of Como Zoo’s giraffe herd and after almost 20 years at Como, she touched the hearts of staff, volunteers, and the public. Rest in peace, sweet girl. Como’s herd now consists of female Clover and male Skeeter.

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