Aging Animals

Cameron Park Zoo’s Senior Citizens

WACO, TEXAS (May 10, 2024) – As veterinary care and animal husbandry continue to advance, geriatric care has become an increasing focus at AZA accredited zoos. Cameron Park Zoo, nestled in the heart of Waco, Texas, is no exception. With many of our beloved animal residents having graced our grounds since opening in 1993 or shortly thereafter, we are now facing the reality of their advancing years. Each of these “senior citizens” holds a cherished place in the hearts of our staff and visitors alike, each with a unique tale to share. As they journey through their golden years, our commitment to their well-being only intensifies. Specialized care regimens tailored to their individual needs ensure that they receive the attention and support necessary to maintain their health and comfort.

From tailored diets crafted to meet their evolving nutritional requirements to specialized physical therapy, enrichment activities, and medical interventions, our senior residents receive comprehensive care aimed at enhancing their quality of life. Our dedicated animal care staff work tirelessly to ensure that each day is filled with comfort, engagement, and joy for these esteemed members of our zoo family.

The staff at Cameron Park Zoo is eager to share information regarding some of our special senior residents with the community.

Jenny, our 32-year-old female reticulated giraffe, was born on February 16, 1992. Giraffes have a median life expectancy of 20 years for females. Jenny is a Diva! She is the oldest female in the world according to the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). The zookeepers work on Jenny’s time, she hates mud and refuses to go on exhibit if there are mud puddles. She is allowed to stay inside if she does not want to go outside due to the weather or a wet exhibit. Jenny is in good health for her age and currently requires no specialized management.

Tembo, our African Elephant, is 47 years and was born on July 4th, 1976, and was born in the wild. She came to the United States from Africa. Median life expectancy for female African Elephants is 39.4 years. The global zoo population is 400, and African Elephants are listed as endangered. Because Tembo was born on the 4th of July, her animal care staff loves to give her a special birthday party.

Cameron Park Zoo has two Sumatran tigers. Maharani is 17 years old and was born May 24, 2006, at the National Zoological Park. Maharani is one of two females aged 17 in AZA facilities and is one of 14 females globally aged 17. Her mate, Kucing, is 15 years old, and was born November 13, 2008, at the San Diego Zoo. He is one of three oldest males globally and is the oldest male in North America. Kucing is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat a condition with his spleen. Life expectancy for females and males is 17 years. The global zoo population is 261. Sumatran tigers are listed as endangered.

Jabba, our Southern White Rhinoceros is 43 years old and was born February 25, 1981, at Lion Country Safari, Inc, in Florida. Life expectancy is 50 to 55 years. Jabba is one of four of the oldest males globally. The three other males are older at age 47. The global zoo population is 72 and Southern White Rhinos are listed as near threatened. He loves his morning scratches from his care team and enjoys oatmeal. Jabba is currently residing in his off-exhibit barn where he is receiving treatment for a chronic hoof issue.

Vivian is our King Vulture and is 72 years old and was hatched on January 5, 1952, in Central America. She is the oldest female globally. The global zoo population is 252. Life expectancy is 30 years.

Cameron Park Zoo invites everyone to join us in celebrating their remarkable lives and the bond they share with our zoo.