A longtime resident of Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo has died. The giraffe Stretch was euthanized Thursday morning after zoo staff determined his quality of life was extremely poor with no hope of recovery.
The 23-year-old giraffe suffered from severe arthritis. He was the large giraffe with the dark coloring who loved to eat crackers from visitors at the giraffe deck.
Stretch was the breeding bull for the zoo's giraffe program and sired 23 offspring. He was born at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo on Valentine's Day, 1987. He arrived at Dickerson Park Zoo in 1988.
Stretch was the second oldest living male giraffe listed in the North American studbook.
Dickerson Park Zoo's giraffe herd now has six females: three adults ranging in age from 11 to 18 years and three juveniles, ranging in age from nine months to five years.