One of the rarest births in this natural history recently occurred at Brights Zoo, a privately owned zoo in east Tennessee. Zookeepers announced that a baby giraffe born without spots and said that she is believed to be the only one of her kind in the world.
The 6-foot-tall giraffe was born on July 31 at Brights Zoo in Limestone, which said in a statement Monday that she is the only solid-colored living reticulated giraffe on the planet. The zoo hopes the spotless creature will help draw attention to the conservation of wild giraffes, whose numbers have dwindled in recent years.
The reticulated giraffe is one of the four distinct species of giraffe, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), a group that works to save giraffes in the wild. In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature added it to a list of threatened species.
Stephanie Fennessy, executive director of the GCF, told The Washington Post that the group had “never seen a similar giraffe in the wild in Africa.”
“Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40 percent of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last 3 decades,” Tony Bright, the founder of Brights Zoo, said in a statement, adding that the zoo was working to help the giraffe population through a breeding program.
A local Fox outlet reported that the “zookeepers said the calf is thriving under the care of her attentive mother.
The zoo is now asking for the public’s help to name the baby giraffe. They have narrowed it down to four names:
Kipekee, meaning ‘unique’
Firyali, meaning ‘unusual or extraordinary’
Shakiri, meaning ‘she is most beautiful’
Jamella, meaning ‘one of great beauty’
The zoo is holding a contest on its Facebook page for users to vote for their favorite name. The poll will run until Labor Day, when the zoo will then choose the name with the most votes.”
Tony Bright, the zoo’s founder, did not say why the baby is missing her spots, but The New York Post noted that “the newborn’s popularity is helping raise awareness over its endangered species.
‘The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,’ Bright said in a statement. ‘Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40% of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last 3 decades.’
Reticulated giraffes, in particular, are among the most endangered, with its population of 36,000 dwindling in half between 2008 and 2018, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.”
If you’d like to learn more about the ways to support the conservation of giraffes, you can learn more at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s website.