Amber, the Oldest Giraffe in North America, Has Departed

November 16, 2017 Updated: November 16, 2017    

Amber the Giraffe, the oldest living Masai giraffe in North America, has died at the ripe old age of 26 after having long outlived her expected 17-year lifespan.

Amber lived at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village, a 40-acre animal park in Providence, Rhode Island. She had been ailing for many years, stricken with arthritis and cataracts, the latter of which left her blind.

No other zoo in the world had ever had to manage a blind giraffe, so the staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo developed its own plan to care for their its beloved giant.

Though there was a period of trial and error, eventually the staff managed to devise ways to help Amber live a good life despite not being able to see—a condition which would be deadly in the wild.

The staff supplemented Amber’s diet with a kind of giraffe chow consisting of alfalfa hay, dandelion greens, and herbivore pellets.

Zoo staff even brought in an acupuncturist to try to help Amber with her arthritis.

Eventually, it became clear that Amber could no longer enjoy life.

“Based on the decline of Amber’s overall health in recent weeks the veterinary and animal care staff decided to euthanize her humanely,” the zoo said in a statement reads.

Amber was born in Cleveland in August of 1991. She came to Roger Williams while still a calf in May of 1992. She was a favorite with zoo visitors, who enjoyed being able to hand-feed the gentle giantess.

A two-week-old female Masai giraffe calf runs in its enclosure at the Los Angeles zoo in California on November 22, 2016. This calf already weighs 130 pounds and stands six feet tall. The Masai giraffes are the largest of the nine subspecies of African giraffes.(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
A two-week-old female Masai giraffe calf runs in its enclosure at the Los Angeles zoo in California on November 22, 2016. This calf already weighs 130 pounds and stands six feet tall. The Masai giraffes are the largest of the nine subspecies of African giraffes.(Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Masai giraffes are the largest species in Africa, Males can reach 17 feet, and weigh up to 3000 lbs. Females ten to top out at about 15 feet and 2.500 lbs.

For anyone who had the pleasure of meeting this majestic creature, please visit and feel free to post your remembrances on the Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village Facebook page.

Happy #WorldGiraffeDay!

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