Zoo Knoxville’s baby giraffe has a name. The 8-week-old girl has been officially christened “Big Girl Two,” and will be called “Bea.” Her name was announced by President and CEO Lisa New at a special event for annual passholders and Circle of Friends members before the zoo opened to the public Saturday morning.
The little giraffe was named by Natalie and Jim Haslam, and is a playful nod to Mr. Haslam’s nickname for Mrs. Haslam, whom he affectionately calls “Big Girl.”
Zoo Knoxville invited the Haslams to name the new baby because of their love of giraffes and their commitment to giraffe conservation at Zoo Knoxville over the years.
Bea is the first giraffe birth at Zoo Knoxville in 17 years. This is also the first offspring for 4-year-old mom Frances and 16-year-old dad 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, giraffes are now critically endangered, and this little giraffe is an important ambassador for her species.