CM Zoo makes difficult decision to euthanize Penny the giraffe

posted by Laura - 

I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for the staff of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Last night they made the incredibly difficult decision to humanely euthanize Penny, an 8-week old giraffe who was born at CM Zoo. She'd splayed at 9 days old, which means her legs went out from under her. It can be fatal for young giraffes and in this case caused a dislocated hip. She was fitted for casts, but ultimately ended up with infections in her legs and the veterinarian staff made the difficult decision to euthanize.   

There will be a memorial service planned for Penny, but out of respect for the zookeepers, the giraffe building will be closed for the next 2 days (Tuesday 7/31 and Wednesday 8/1). There will be a box outside of the building for guests to leave cards for the keepers.

Watch the emotional video below:

Penny's care team and the experts at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, CO, have made the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize her. The decision came once the team discovered several health concerns during Penny's procedure today. In addition to the abscess that had spread further into Penny’s abdomen, there were also signs that pointed to infection in the bones of at least three of her legs. Additionally, the team found a dislocated hip joint that did not present itself in the multiple X-rays taken over the past several weeks. They believe the chronic combination of the abscess, a degenerating femoral head and her need to stand awkwardly over an extended period of time led to a recent dislocation. We are absolutely heartbroken, but we truly appreciate all of your support over this near two-month journey. The outpouring of love, thoughts, prayers and kind words has been unwavering and overwhelming. While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we are confident that Penny's legacy will live on in the work we do to improve medical and husbandry care for giraffe in Zoos around the world. Thanks to Penny, more people are now educated on the plight of giraffe in the wild. We will soon begin the planning process for a Penny memorial, and will be able to share more details as our staff regroups and moves forward in the coming days. Lastly, as you all know, a team of #CMZoo staff and a CSU veterinarian will travel to Uganda in the next few days to assist with giraffe conservation efforts as part of Operation Twiga III to help protect vulnerable giraffe populations in Uganda. Their contribution to this effort will be dedicated to Penny’s memory. For those who would like to pay their respects to Penny and thank her care team, the Zoo requests memorial gifts be contributed at Any financial support beyond what is needed to help cover expenses for Penny’s care can be directed to either giraffe conservation or veterinary care for CMZoo animals. In order to direct your gift, please make a note in the “Comments” section online, or on the memo line when writing a check. Out of respect for the keepers, the giraffe building will be closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday (7/31 and 8/1) to allow them some privacy. There will be a box outside of the building for guests to leave cards for the keepers, if they wish.

Posted by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on Monday, July 30, 2018


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