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Science & Technology

Famous Giraffe At Santa Barbara Zoo With Crooked Neck Commemorated With New Exhibit

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New Santa Barbara Zoo exhibit highlights Gemina, the giraffe known for her crooked neck

She was perhaps the Santa Barbara Zoo’s most famous resident.

Even though she’s no longer alive, the zoo has a new tribute to her.

Gemina was a giraffe, which was enough to make her a star to many people, but nature gave her a unique twist which made her special even among giraffes.

When she was three, a crook developed in her neck. Michelle Green, the Zoo’s Curator of Mammals, says Gemina grew up with the disorder, but grew up problem free, and even had a baby, while never acting like she was different.

Generations of schoolchildren grew up with Gemina, and her uniqueness brought her national attention. She was featured on some television shows, and even had a book written about her.

Gemina lived to be 21, dying from the impacts of old age in 2008. The median life expectancy for female giraffes in zoos is a little over 19 years, so she lived longer than might be expected.

Now her skull and famous crooked neck are featured at the zoo, in a new exhibit and tribute to the popular giraffe. Green says the new display brings back many memories of the beloved giraffe.

The new Gemina display is part of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Discovery Pavilion, which also features an art show of unique x-rays of zoo residents, and an area where you can watch zoo staff prepare the many unique meals for the facility's hundreds of residents.

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