Zoo welcomes endangered, 2-year-old giraffe as part of Species Survival Plan for giraffe.
The newest member of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s animal family, a two-year-old female giraffe, can now be “spotted” at the Zoo’s giraffe habitat. Mashamba (ma-sham-ba) recently arrived at the OKC Zoo from the Memphis Zoo in Memphis, Tennessee, as part of a breeding recommendation for the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP). She will eventually be paired with the Zoo’s male giraffe, Demetri, 3, as part of this breeding program.
“Mashamba is a wonderful addition to our giraffe family. She is settling in nicely and already bonding with the other giraffe,” said OKC Zoo’s Curator of Hoofstock, Tracey Dolphin. “By bringing her here as part of this breeding program, we are able to further our commitment to conserving this endangered, iconic species and look forward to growing our herd in the future.”
Since arriving at the Zoo, Mashamba has been exploring her new surroundings and becoming familiar with herd mates: female, Ellie, 20; female, Julu, 5 and Demetri. She is also getting to know her caretakers and has started approaching the Zoo’s giraffe feeding platform and connecting with guests. Zoo guests can easily identify Mashamba who is the smallest giraffe in the group. Mashamba still has some growing to do ultimately reaching a height of 14-feet tall and weighing as much as 1,500 pounds. She also has a unique spot pattern with small white spots, located inside her larger brown spots.
Giraffe are listed as endangered to critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation Nature. Wild giraffe populations have declined over the past 30 years by 40 percent due to habitat destruction and poaching, but there is still time to save them, thanks to the collaborative efforts of groups such as AZA and its accredited members. In 2017, AZA created the Giraffe SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) program knowing the plight wild giraffes are facing. The OKC Zoo is proud to be a Giraffe SAFE partner committed to providing annual financial support for giraffe conservation programs in Africa and promoting public awareness about protecting these iconic animals.
Visit the Zoo to get a view of Mashamba! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo tickets are limited each day to ensure safe social distancing among guests. 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 $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.
For an additional $5 per person, visitors can feed the Zoo’s giraffe at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. daily which can also be reserved online. Children 2 and under are not permitted to participate in giraffe feedings and guests 3 and older must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff.
Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a member. Memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org or any place admission is sold in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza during regular business hours. To learn more about this event and Zoo other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.