OKC Zoo’s giraffe herd is growing with a calf due this fall. Public is invited to participate in Facebook live events today hosted locally by Bob Moore Subaru to help raise awareness for the world’s tallest mammal on World Giraffe Day.
In celebration of today, Wednesday, June 21, being World Giraffe Day, the Oklahoma City Zoo is going big and sharing exciting news about its giraffe herd and hosting virtual activities as part of this global occasion dedicated to giraffe conservation. The Oklahoma City Zoo’s giraffe, Julu, 7, is pregnant and expecting her second calf this fall. This will be the second offspring for pair Julu and Demetri, 6, who are parents to Njeri, almost 2, born September 2021 at the Zoo’s giraffe habitat. According to caretakers, Julu is in good health and her daily routine including diet, training, exercise and time spent with her herd mates will remain unchanged throughout her pregnancy. The giraffe and veterinary care teams will continue to monitor Julu’s pregnancy through visual exams.
The World Giraffe Day excitement continues as the OKC Zoo and Bob Moore Subaru bring giraffe fans together virtually to stand tall for one of the world’s most iconic animals. This globally recognized day provides a unique opportunity to learn about, raise awareness for and help conserve giraffes and their natural habitat. This year, the OKC Zoo will be hosting a virtual celebration and is inviting guests to get a live, behind-the-scenes look at our giraffe herd in their brand-new barn inside of Expedition Africa presented by Inasmuch Foundation. The Zoo will be holding two Facebook live events today on its channel, @okczoo, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with its expert hoofstock caretakers to talk about the giraffes here at the Zoo and how we can protect them for future generations.
The OKC Zoo proudly participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Species Survival Plan® for giraffes and welcomed two giraffe calves in 2021 as part of this breeding program. Average gestation for a giraffe calf is approximately 15 months and new calves can stand as tall as 6 feet at birth and weigh between 100 and 150 lbs. Giraffes give birth while standing and the calf is born head and front feet first.
In addition to celebrating the world’s tallest mammal on the longest day of the year, the Zoo is supporting Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with funds raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program. The Zoo supported two GCF programs last year including sponsoring two African veterinarians to attend a Wildlife Veterinarian Course in Namibia. GCF’s Wildlife Veterinarian course is aimed at building capacity for African veterinarians to safely immobilize giraffes and other large hoofstock for snare removal, translocation and research. In partnership with the University of Namibia School for Veterinary Science, GCF provided an opportunity for nine wildlife vets from six different African countries to attend the course. The OKC Zoo also supported a GCF grant program that provides funding for African students to conduct research that can assist with giraffe conservation and management. By encouraging students from African universities to contribute scientific data, GCF is helping to implement several unique giraffe conservation strategies and action plans. GCF is working with seven universities throughout East Africa that have expressed interest and has begun developing conservation research programs led by students. Money from the Round Up for Conservation Fund at the OKC Zoo, was used for the students’ tuition and research costs.
WORLD GIRAFFE DAY FACTS
- A giraffe’s heart weighs about 25 pounds and is the size of a basketball.
- The okapi is the giraffe’s closest living relative.
- Giraffes are ruminants, meaning they have a four-chambered stomach, like a cow.
- The giraffe uses its 18-inch prehensile tongue to remove leaves from thorny trees.
- Giraffe horns are called ossicones, which are made of cartilage.
- Giraffe populations have declined by 30% in the last 30 years.
- The OKC Zoo participates in the AZA’s SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction program and the Species Survival Plan® for giraffes.
- Giraffe are listed as a vulnerable species with four subspecies listed as endangered or critically endangered.
- Giraffe face a number of threats including habitat loss, poaching, human conflict and civil unrest.
- The OKC Zoo supports giraffe conservation efforts in Tanzania and Namibia in partnership with Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
World Giraffe Day doesn’t stop with the Zoo’s celebration! Head to Eileen’s Colossal Cookies to help positively impact giraffe conservation. Now through Friday, June 30, for every frosted giraffe cookie purchased from Eileen’s, $.50/per cookie will be donated to the OKC Zoo in support of conserving giraffes and their habitat. Cookies will be available to purchase individually or in trays of 6 cookies. Customers that purchase a tray of 6 will be entered to win an OKC Zoo Giraffe Feeding Experience good for four people plus Zoo admission, with one drawing at each of the two participating locations, Edmond (1333 N. Santa Fe, Edmond) and Nichols Hills (7700 N. May Ave, OKC) locations.
A major milestone has been reached in the Zoo’s Expedition Africa expansion and the state-of-the-art giraffe barn has been completed! This brand-new facility for our giraffe family features specialized flooring to help with hoof health, a dedicated stall for medical procedures and indoor viewing and feeding opportunities for our guests year-round. Since completing this element of Expedition Africa, our giraffe herd has successfully moved into the enhanced barn and will remain off public view as they become acclimated to their new space.
Make giant steps for gentle giants this World Giraffe Day! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Looking for a year of Zoo adventures? Consider a 12-month, ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo providing general admission year-round and exclusive offers while supporting the Zoo’s ongoing animal care and conservation programs. Memberships can be purchased at okczoo.org/membership. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories.