November 18, 2010 – It was a sad day at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Uhura, a twenty year-old female in the Zoo’s famous reticulated giraffe herd, was euthanized this evening.

Uhura was accidentally bumped by a herd member. This caused her to lose footing and fall down a slope that acts as a natural barrier between the giraffes and guests.

Over the course of four hours, Zoo staff, emergency personnel and their heavy rescue equipment assisted Uhura to a standing position. However, she was unable to remain standing on her own.  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo veterinary and animal care staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Uhura.

The Zoo’s Director of Conservation, Dr. Della Garelle, and Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Liza Dadone agreed on her grave prognosis. “As her condition declined and it was clear that she could not stand without assistance, we only had one viable option. It is of utmost importance at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to value quality of life and know when decisions like these need to be made.”

A necropsy will be performed to determine the extent of her injuries.

“It’s hard to lose old friends,” said Tracy Thessing, Director of Animal Collections. Thessing has worked with Uhura since the giraffe’s birth.

“We are grateful for the extraordinary assistance from Broadmoor Fire Department, Station 13 and Station 4; Heavy Rescue - Station 17 and the District 2 Chief. They were an integral part of a tremendous effort tonight, “ said Tracey Gazibara, Vice President of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Uhura had 10 offspring from 1995-2009; 7 females, 3 males. Five of the females still live at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo while the others reside at various AZA accredited Zoos throughout the country.