Santa Barbara Zoo Giraffe Audrey Passes at 16

Audrey, a Masai Giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, passed away at age 16 (courtesy photo)
Audrey, a Masai Giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, passed away at age 16 (courtesy photo)

Goodbye, Beloved Audrey

We are deeply saddened to announce that Audrey, the elderly female Masai giraffe that lived almost her entire life in Santa Barbara, died overnight. While her death was unexpected, at the age of 16, Audrey was considered a geriatric giraffe. At this time, the details regarding the cause of death are unknown; however, more information will be available in the coming weeks after a necropsy (animal autopsy) is conducted and a pathology report is received.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Audrey’s passing,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “Audrey was not just a magnificent presence at the Santa Barbara Zoo; she was a nurturing and devoted mother to seven calves. Additionally, Audrey’s contribution to the Masai giraffe population has been invaluable, helping to ensure the genetic health and sustainability of this endangered species. We will miss Audrey deeply, and we are grateful for the joy and wonder she brought to all who had the privilege of knowing her.”

Audrey was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 2008 and arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2010. As the matriarch of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s herd, Audrey had 7 calves, 6 of whom were sired by Michael, the most genetically valuable male Masai giraffe in the North American AZA population. Four of her offspring have also had calves, resulting in 7 grand calves of Audrey’s at zoos across the country.

We are so grateful to all of the keepers and veterinary staff who devoted so much care, time, and effort over the years to ensure Audrey a long and healthy life. She will be deeply missed by everyone in the Zoo community.

Audrey, a Masai Giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, passed away at age 16 (courtesy photo)
Audrey, a Masai Giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, passed away at age 16 (courtesy photo)


Written by sbzoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of the natural world and its living treasures through education, research, and recreation. Learn more at

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  1. Asking, “What is the lifespan of a Masai giraffe?” and receiving the following answer:
    “between 15 to 25 years. Masai Giraffes are some of the most majestic creatures in East Africa. There are a lot of interesting facts about these animals, which we have looked at below. Masai Giraffe typically live for between 15 to 25 years in the wild. In captivity, the Masai Giraffe can be expected to live up to 30 years.”

    This unfortunate creature’s entire life was spent in a cage, an enclosure that kept her from galloping freely…. Instead she was part of breeding mill (something many enlightened jurisdictions ban for dogs) in a small town zoo. Shame on us.

    • The bigger issue is how we’re not properly taking care of our earth to keep these animals alive on their own. Accredited zoos like this are the best solution we have right now to keep the population going until everyone gets on board that this earth is worth saving and climate change is real.

  2. Mention the Zoo, and you can count on a bunch of armchair zoologists to break out in a chorus of Born Free without acknowledging how much zoos contribute to the preservation of endangered species and knowledge about their habitat needs. As we continue to lumber onward with our quest to ruin the entire ecosystem, zoos will only become more important in both saving animal lives and educating the populace.

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