Global Wildlife Says Goodbye to Gentle Giant

Global Wildlife Center says goodbye to gentle giant, Slim the giraffe. Photo by Cheryl Schneider March 12, 2009, Global Wildlife Center was forced to make the difficult decision to euthanize Slim the reticulated giraffe. Slim had been the patriarch of the animal family at Global Wildlife Center since its inception in 1991, and was adored by staff and visitors alike. Known for his gentle demeanor and easygoing disposition, Slim was very gregarious and friendly with the safari wagons.  He could frequently be counted on to approach the safari tours even when the rest of the giraffe family was being shy. He relished the attention of the people and would often stretch his long neck from one wagon opening to the other, so that children and adults could stroke his long neck and head while he partook in animal feed. Many visitors have photos of giraffe “hugs” from Slim, when he would allow them to wrap their arms around his giant head. His unflappable, easygoing personality and fondness for cameras made him a media darling. The tour guides knew the key to his heart, potato chips and rice krispy treats. Slim came to live at Global Wildlife Center in 1987 from the Dallas Ft. Worth Zoo. He was 4 ½ years old at the time, making him over 26 years old at the time of his death, well above the average life expectancy of a giraffe. Over the past year, Slim had undergone regular treatment for arthritis and was electing to stay in the giraffe compound more and more often. About ten days ago, Slim injured himself while attempting to breed his mate, Kameel. Slim fathered 13 giraffe calves at Global Wildlife Center, and the tour guides affectionately called him“Papa Slim.” When examined by a team of veterinarians last week, he was declared in amazing condition for his age, despite his injury. Slim was responding well to treatment until sometime during the night of March 11, when he laid down and was unable to stand again. “We are profoundly sad and heartbroken. He was an icon at the Center, and his absence will be felt by all,” said Christina Cooper, Education and Development Director. He went to sleep and died peacefully around 1:30 pm. Global Wildlife Center officials are encouraging visitors to share any photos they have of Slim by mailing them to: Global Wildlife Center 26389 Hwy. 40 Folsom, LA 70437 or by sending them via e-mail to ccooper@globalwildlife.com