Oldest giraffe at Zoo Atlanta euthanized due to failing health

Abu, Zoo Atlanta's oldest giraffe, had to be put down due to failing health, zoo officials said.

Abu, Zoo Atlanta's oldest giraffe whose health recently took a turn for the worse, was put down Friday.

Zoo officials say their Animal Care and Veterinary Teams had been monitoring the 16-year-old giraffe following a sharp decline in his health.

"Given his poor prognosis and with concern for the impact on his quality of life, the teams made the extremely difficult decision to euthanize him," Zoo Atlanta stated in a press release.


"This is a very sad day for Zoo Atlanta. Abu was very special to so many, both within the Zoo team and among our Members and guests," said Sam Rivera, DVM, Senior Director of Animal Health. "Our Animal Care and Veterinary Teams have worked tirelessly in their efforts to care for Abu, always with his well-being foremost in our minds, and pursued every option available to us in terms of his treatment. We have all appreciated the amazing support of our Zoo Atlanta community, Members and friends for our efforts and for Abu." 

Abu arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 2007. In 2010, he became the father of the first giraffe calf ever born at Zoo Atlanta, and sired a second offspring in 2011 before later becoming the dominant member of an all-male herd. The two other giraffes at Zoo Atlanta are males Etana and Isooba, both 10-years-old.

Zoo officials say a necropsy will be conducted. Pathology results should be available in several weeks.