Zoo Knoxville is happy to announce that the giraffe calf born on July 1 is a girl!
The 11-day-old baby is mastering the use of her long legs under the watchful eyes of her mother Frances and her caretakers in the zoo’s Grasslands Africa habitat. Her personality is already starting to emerge; she is described by curator Petty Grieve as inquisitive, adventurous, bold…and sleepy. After her short but energetic bursts exploring her new surroundings in the morning, she retires to the barn for a sequence of nursing and napping.
At this stage in her development she spends the majority of her day sleeping and eating indoors. Her caretakers will be gradually expanding her access to the Grasslands habitat to allow her to become familiar as weather permits. While she has not been formally christened yet, the zoo plans to announce a name soon.
This is the first giraffe birth at Zoo Knoxville in 17 years. This is also the first offspring for three-year-old Frances and 16-year-old male Jumbe (pronounced JOOM-bay). The two were paired on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) working to save giraffes from extinction.
The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically over the last few years, and now there are fewer than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa. They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat. With a recent 40% decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered, and this little giraffe is an important ambassador for her species.
Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. For more information visit zooknoxville.org.