SAN FRANCISCO—Floyd, the oldest and tallest giraffe at the San Francisco Zoo, died at the age of 18 on Friday, July 24 due to joint degeneration from aging and his health decline.

“Sadly, we mourn today’s passing of the beloved patriarch of SF Zoo’s reticulated giraffe herd. Floyd arrived at #SFZoo in 2004 and contributed greatly to the reticulated giraffe population over the course of his 18 years. He was the father to 11 offspring, and in total, he had 24 grandkids and five great-grandkids! As the tallest and oldest giraffe in the Zoo’s herd, Floyd was 16 feet tall and weighed more than 2,425 lbs! His imposing size yet serene demeanor will be missed by guests and Zoo staff alike,” said Marianne Hale via the SF Zoo Facebook page.

He was born in 2002 at the Albuquerque Zoo and transferred to the San Francisco Zoo in 2004. One female offspring still lives at the Zoo, but others of Floyd’s offspring can be found all over the country, from California, Oregon to Tennessee and Alabama.

The reticulated giraffe, one of the more often seen giraffe species, and its subspecies found in zoological parks are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In northeastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and Somalia, the origin of the species, the population of the giraffe has declined by 50 percent due to the increase of poaching. Floyd served as an important ambassador for his species, encouraged the public to recognize about the need for giraffe conservation.

“In addition to being an incredible ambassador, our scientific research teams have been able to observe Floyd over the past several years, and he has been a principal subject for visiting science students,” said Dr. Jason Watters, the zoo’s executive vice president for wellness and animal behavior. “We are grateful for having the opportunity to work with this remarkable animal and learn so much from him.

Floyd was suffering from joints degeneration. The zoo’s integrated animal care and wellness teams worked over the past several months to provide Floyd with the comfort that is the aim for all of the zoo’s animals, with particular focus on senior ones.

Written By Tamayo Mato and Donald Roberts