Louisville Zoo Saddened to Say Goodbye To Masai Giraffe Walker

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Louisville Zoo Saddened to Say Goodbye To Masai Giraffe Walker

With great sadness, The Louisville Zoo said goodbye to 21-year-old geriatric Masai giraffe “Walker” today.

Walker’s diminishing mobility, which the staff had been monitoring since summer, was indicative of multi-joint degenerative arthritis. His quality of life had been in decline with no signs of improvement and today the tough decision was made to humanely euthanize Walker.

“The Zoo’s Veterinary staff and keepers monitor animals closely,” says Louisville Zoo Director  John Walczak. “These decisions are always made with heavy hearts. Walker was a great ambassador for his species and will be greatly missed.”

“Walker’s comfort level was foremost in our minds when making this tough decision,” adds Louisville Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi. “His mobility was the biggest factor.”

Walker shared the exhibit with three other Masai giraffes — two males, 4-year-old Oliver and 2-year-old Silvester (Walker’s offspring) and one female 17-year-old Malaika.

Masai Giraffe is the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal on Earth reaching between 15-18 feet and 1200-1800 lbs. Their range is Africa, south of the Sahari desert. The median life expectancy is 11.7 years.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).