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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to build memorial for Penny the giraffe

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jan 16, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo announced it will build a memorial for Penny the giraffe, who died last summer following medical complications.

Zoo President and CEO Bob Chastain made the announcement on the Zoo’s Facebook page and showed off a miniature model of the statue.

The zoo is planning for the statue to be life-sized, with the calf in one of its well-known poses on the floor next to a bale of hay.

Chastain said the zoo is planning to finish the sculpture in about 6-8 months, and he said he’s said that he hopes it will be finished by late summer this year.

Penny the giraffe statue
Miniature sculpture of the memorial for Penny the Giraffe. (Courtesy of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)

However, the zoo said it wanted to take the thoughts of the community and people who attend the zoo into account before finalizing the design.

“We know you loved Penny and we know you paid particular attention to her,” Chastain said. “We thought we would open it up to comments for two weeks. If there was anything in particular that you loved about Penny or saw about her that we didn’t capture in this sculpture, we’d like to hear about it.”

Click here to leave a comment under the Facebook live video of the announcement. And don’t worry, the sculpture will feature Penny’s spots.

Penny captured the hearts of many people in Colorado Springs and across the Internet after she was born. The animal was the zoo’s 200th giraffe when it was born last June.

Penny the giraffe, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Medical problems first appeared with Penny when she was 9-days-old. That’s when zookeepers said the giraffe’s legs went out from under her. The zoo’s staff then followed her condition closely, giving her assistance standing and feeding while she recovered.

Weeks later, Penny was taken to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at Colorado State University where veterinarians found that an infection had spread into three of her legs and a previously undiscovered dislocated hip joint.

The team ultimately determined the giraffe could not overcome the medical issues to live a quality life. Penny was euthanized nearly 2 months after she was born.

The zoo called Penny a staff favorite, and she was beloved by visitors at the zoo as well.