Two Giraffes Die Within One Week at Greater Vancouver Zoo

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Two Giraffes Die Within One Week at Greater Vancouver Zoo


Giraffe at Greater Vancouver Zoo, by flickr user

A second giraffe has now died at the Greater Vancouver Zoo – both within one week.

On Tuesday November 15th, the Zoo’s 3-year-old baby giraffe was found dead in his enclosure. The cause of death is still under investigation. Now his mother has been found dead in her barn on Saturday, November 19th. The zoo has stated that the mother giraffe was considered a senior, at the age of 23.  This is the third giraffe death at the zoo; another baby died in 2006.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo has a very poor track record of taking care of their animals. In 1983, the zoo had two hippos in its care drown after falling through the ice after being given access to a frozen outdoor pond.

In 2004 the zoo lost its accreditation from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums due to keeping 2 hippos in an unheated barn in severe cold during the winter months. A couple of years later, with no improvements in terms of animal welfare, CAZA reaccredited the zoo.  (Learn more about the shady business of accreditation here.)  Of these 2 hippos, Gertrude died in 2004 at the age of 22 (half the life expectancy of a hippopotamus); Harvey died a year later in 2005 at the age of 20. They both lived their entire lives in the zoo in substandard conditions.

In 2006, the zoo was charged with animal cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act as they were once again providing inadequate housing to a hippo: this time a baby Hippo named Hazina (you may know her from the very popular TELUS advertising campaign seen on TV and billboards a few years ago.)

The only water she was provided with was a 2 feet deep wading pool, not sufficient to help alleviate the weight of her 1,000 pound body on her joints. She was not permitted to go outside and graze; also, she was not provided with any rubber padding to help alleviate the weight of her body against the concrete in her enclosure.

In April of 2009 five zebras died after zoo caretakers carelessly released two Cape Buffalo into their enclosure, a decision which caused such extreme stress to the animals that they died of strokes.

Zoos are not sanctuaries. Giraffes and other exotic animals do not belong anywhere in Canada. These beautiful animals have to endure long winters trapped indoors, often in isolation; in the wild or on large sanctuaries in warm climates they have hundreds of miles to roam free and can fulfill their need for rich social interaction.

Please show your support for the animals and do not visit the zoo. Every dollar you spend is a vote – please do not support these facilities whose only aim is to profit off of the animals who suffer in their care.


Trish Smyth

November 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm

After reading the news of the 2nd giraffe dying this month at the Vancouver Zoo, my heart goes out to all the imprisoned wild animals.  My fear is that they will want to replace these “attractions” and 2 more animals will be given a life sentence.  

I spent some time in Southern Africa this year and had the pleasure of witnessing these majestic creatures as nature intended….free.
It is beyond me why a province that is as forward thinking as BC is, would continue to support the abduction of creatures from their natural habitat and environments that we could never replicate.  

I Googled “protest zoos” and your site came up.  I would love to get involved in some way to help raise awareness.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help your cause. Thank you for caring.


Trish Smyth


November 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Why is a 23 year old animal pregnant???? Why would they breed her?


November 29, 2011 at 3:15 am

The animals are at the zoo because the zoo is the best care available. If the zoo had more revenue ie visitors it would be able to provide better care for animals.

Another one?? | Liberation BC blog

November 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm

[…] have been known to die as a result of exposure in the past. (You can read our blog post about it here.)  Jafira, Eleah’s mate and Amryn’s father, was alone in his enclosure until the […]


January 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

This article states that Hazina the TELUS hippo died. This is not correct. There was another hippo named Hazina that died en route to the Calgary Zoo but it was not at all related to the Greater Vancouver Zoo.


January 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Hi Laura,

Thanks very much for the heads-up! You’re correct–the Hazina who died had just arrived at the Calgary Zoo from the Denver Zoo after a journey of 29 hours. The Hazina at the Greater Vancouver Zoo is still alive.

Thanks again!

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