Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Announces the Loss of Giraffe Zuri, the Oldest Reticulated Giraffe in the United States
Fort Wayne IN – With heavy hearts, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo announces the loss of matriarch and beloved giraffe, Zuri, on Friday, November 25. Our experienced animal care staff and veterinary team noticed earlier in the week that Zuri was showing signs of abdominal pain and a decreased appetite. Due to advanced training and trust she had with the care team, Zuri voluntarily participated in sessions that allowed for diagnostic testing and treatments to be performed. Despite treatments for several days, Zuri’s symptoms worsened, resulting in a grave prognosis for recovery. With Zuri’s well-being in mind, the care staff made a difficult but kind decision to gift Zuri a peaceful end.
Born on Dec. 6, 1988, Zuri joined the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo family in 1989 and quickly became a zoo favorite among both animal care staff and guests. Since her arrival, Zuri has greeted over 17 million guests and has been an exceptional ambassador animal for this endangered species.
“There was nothing sweeter than hearing the squeal of a child who fed Zuri a piece of lettuce for the first time.” Explains executive director Rick Schuiteman, “Our mission is to connect kids and animals, strengthen families, and inspire people to care; and Zuri’s impact simply stood above the rest.”
Dr. Kami Fox, head veteranian, expresses “The Fort Wayne community was able to connect with Zuri in a unique and incredibly special way. The exceptional care she received allowed Zuri to connect with kids for nearly 34 years. As the oldest reticulated giraffe in the United States, her influence on guests, her species, and the entire AZA community was oustanding. Now, it’s up to us to continue her legacy.”
Zuri was loved by all, and her loss is felt deeply. We share this heartbreak with our animal care staff, who cared for her daily. We thank them for their outstanding work, not only with Zuri, but with all the animals here at the Zoo. We appreciate the support of the community as we
3411 Sherman Boulevard Fort Wayne, IN 46808 P: 260-427-6800 F: 260-427-6820 www.kidszoo.org
grieve her loss and celebrate her legacy together and welcome the community to mail cards, photos or stories of your favorite memories of Zuri to the Zoo at 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.
About the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo: The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is northeast Indiana’s largest tourist attraction, hosting more than 600,000 guests annually. In 2021, the Zoo was voted Visit Indiana’s “Summer Bucket List Top Attraction” and is consistently named one of the nation’s Top Ten Zoos for Kids by national media outlets.
The Zoo is a conservation leader, contributing more than $300,000 annually to local, regional, and international efforts to protect wild animals and habitats. The Zoo cares for more than 1500 animals and participates in 63 cooperative species survival plans.
As a self-supporting facility, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo receives no tax dollars for operations. The Zoo’s operations are funded entirely by earned revenue and donations.