DENVER — Dikembe, the oldest male giraffe at the Denver Zoo, was put down Thursday.
At 24 years old, Dikembe was also the oldest male giraffe in North America. He was considered the patriarch of the Denver Zoo’s herd.
“He will be remembered fondly as gentle, charismatic and goofy, and for the tremendous contributions he made to his vulnerable species during his exceptionally long life,” the Denver Zoo said on its Facebook page.
Dikembe parented 17 giraffes during his time in Denver, the most recent of which was born in February.
Dikembe had a number of health issues. The zoo said it decided to humanely euthanize him after he began showing signs his quality of life had declined.
“We provide the highest standards of animal care for our more than 4,000 animals throughout all life stages, and make every effort to ensure that an animal’s last days are not its worst,” the zoo said.
“We are confident Dikembe lived each of his 9,036 days in comfort and with the opportunities that allowed him to thrive at Denver Zoo.”