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Science and the Environment

Birth and Death at Dickerson Park Zoo

A giraffe at Dickerson Park Zoo has died.  Cheka arrived at the zoo in May 1995 when she was 16 months old.  She injured her leg when she was being transported from California to Missouri, and zookeepers have provided extensive care to the scarred area since then.

Over the summer, keepers had to administer medications to treat inflammation and prevent infection.  But recent radiographs showed the infection had spread to her bones, and zoo staff decided to humanely euthanize her yesterday.

Cheka was part of the zoo’s giraffe breeding program—she had given birth to nine calves since 1999.

The giraffe was 20-years-old—older than the median life expectancy for giraffes of 15.8 years.

Meanwhile, the zookeepers continue to monitor a new zoo member.  A Chilean flamingo hatched a week and a half ago.  The chick and its parents were separated from the rest of the flock to protect the baby from some aggressive adult males. 

As the chick grows, other members of the flock will be introduced to the yard. 

The parents have previously raised five chicks.  According to the zoo, Flamingos establish long-term pair bonds as long as the pairs are successful.