Something truly amazing has happened at a zoo in Tennessee.
Reticulated giraffes are known for their distinctive spotted coat with brown shapes that help camouflage them in the dry savannah. However, a giraffe calf born at Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee, on July 31 lacks spots. Instead, she is a beautiful solid brown color.
The calf is believed to be the only living solid-colored reticulated giraffe in the world.
Indeed, Stephanie Fennessy, executive director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, said the group had “never seen a similar giraffe in the wild in Africa,” according to the Washington Post.
The great news is that the giraffe calf, who is already 6 feet tall, is thriving under the care of her attentive mother and the zoo’s expert staff, David Bright, director of Brights Zoo, told TravelAwaits in a statement. Furthermore, she was immediately accepted by the entire giraffe tower, or group of giraffes.
They treat her as they treat every other giraffe born at the zoo, Bright explains.
As you would expect, news of the giraffe, called the “rarest giraffe in the world,” is drawing a significant amount of attention.
“The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,” Tony Bright, founder of Bright’s Zoo, told TravelAwaits. “Wild giraffe populations are silently slipping into extinction.”
Sadly, there are only around 16,000 reticulated giraffes in the wild, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. That’s a more than 50 percent decline from when there were approximately 36,000 wild reticulated giraffes about 35 years ago, the foundation continues.
About Reticulated Giraffes
The reticulated giraffe is one of the four distinct species of giraffe. The word “reticulated” in their name refers to the network of polygonal brown spots separated by creamy off-white streaks, the Denver Zoo explains.
Male reticulated giraffes are typically 16–18 feet tall and weigh approximately 4,200 pounds. Females, on the other hand, are generally 14–16 feet tall and weigh around 2,600 pounds.
Reticulated giraffes are also known for their 6-foot-long legs, 6-foot-long necks, and 18-inch prehensile tongues. Those tongues, which are strong and flexible, allow the giraffes to grasp and strip leaves from thorny branches without scratching their faces or eyes on the thorns.
Naming, And Visiting, The Giraffe Calf
Brights Zoo, which is about 80 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee, hasn’t named the giraffe calf yet. In fact, its staff needs your help naming her.
They’ve come up with four possible names for the giraffe. Those names, and their meanings, are:
- Kipekee – “Unique”
- Firyali – “Unusual” or “Extraordinary”
- Shakiri – “She is most beautiful”
- Jamella – “One of great beauty”
If you’d like to help name the giraffe, all you need to do is visit the Brights Zoo Facebook page and vote for the name you like best.
Brights Zoo has even created a new webpage to post updates about the giraffe. You can follow the giraffe, and even learn how you can visit her, at the Rare Patternless Giraffe webpage.
For more about animals and their babies, be sure to read our Zoo content, including: