Wildlife fans around the world continue to fall in love with the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s newest arrival, a female giraffe calf, and now she has a name: Azizi! The calf’s name is Swahili for precious and was selected to honor Love’s Travel Stops for their continued philanthropic support of the OKC Zoo and its newest habitat expansion, Expedition Africa.

Born on October 10, Azizi is the second offspring of mother Julu (8) and father Demetri (6) and the first giraffe calf born at the OKC Zoo’s state-of-the-art Giraffe House presented by The Ann Lacy Foundation at Expedition Africa. According to Azizi’s caretakers, she is healthy and hitting important milestones for a calf including nursing regularly, navigating her environment and showing interest in solid foods such as browse—leaves, twigs and buds from trees and shrubs. Julu and her little one will continue to spend quality time together in the Giraffe House but caretakers will soon begin introductions between Azizi and her additional herd mates including Ellie (23), Solstice (14), Mashamba (5) and sister, Njeri (2). The Zoo proudly cares for three generations of giraffes as matriarch Ellie is mother to Julu and grandmother to both Njeri and Azizi.

“We are all in love with Azizi and excited to welcome Zoo guests to Expedition Africa to see her and our entire giraffe family,” said OKC Zoo’s Curator of Primates and Ungulates, Tracey Dolphin. “Guests will be in awe of the vast and enriching spaces created for our herd and other iconic African species that will call Expedition Africa’s savanna home. These advanced developments will enable us to grow our herd and further connect guests to these amazing animals. We are extremely grateful to our guests and community partners like Love’s Travel Stops for their continuous support of the Zoo and this major project.”

“We are in awe of the newest addition to the giraffe family at the OKC Zoo and our employees took great joy in choosing her name, Azizi,” said Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer and executive vice president at Love’s. “We can’t wait to see her grow and thrive with other members of the herd at Expedition Africa.”

Azizi is the 58th giraffe to be born at the Zoo since the first giraffe birth in 1965. Mom Julu was born at the OKC Zoo in 2015 and Azizi’s father, Demetri, arrived from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas, in 2018, as part of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Giraffe Species Survival Plan® (SSP). SSPs are cooperative, long-term management programs designed to maintain genetically viable and geographically stable populations of specific species.

Guests can see Azizi and her giraffe family as they explore the Zoo’s latest and most-advanced habitat expansion, Expedition Africa presented by Inasmuch Foundation. All pathways in Expedition Africa are now open and guests can enjoy a close-up look at the giraffes from their spacious savanna or inside the giraffe house. The brand-new giraffe house is designed to provide the best quality of care and wellbeing for the Zoo’s giraffes and offers indoor viewing and will provide feeding opportunities for fans to connect with these gentle giants year-round.

Since the 1980s, giraffe populations in Africa have dropped 30%. The primary reason for the decline is habitat loss. Human activities such as agricultural expansion, logging and urban development have drastically reduced available giraffe habitat. Currently, only 10% of the historic range for giraffes remains. As these spaces shrink, giraffes are forced to move elsewhere and face increased competition for resources. Conservation efforts to address these threats are essential to protect this endangered species for future generations. The Oklahoma City Zoo is contributing to giraffe conservation by supporting Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with funds raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program. This September, Oklahoma Zoological Society’s annual fundraiser event, ZOObrew, raised $25,000 for GCF. GCF is an international science-based conservation organization that provides innovative approaches to save giraffes in the wild. OKC Zoo is also a founding member of AZA’s Giraffe SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program. Guests can help protect giraffe, wildlife and wild places by supporting the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program and rounding up when making purchases in the park.

Plan a Zoo visit soon to see Azizi and all the wildlife of Expedition Africa! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. The Zoo will be closed to the public during the daytime on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between December 5 and February 7, 2024. 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 daytime 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.

Stay connected with the Zoo on FacebookXInstagramThreadsLinktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Give a gift for all seasons with a ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo. Perfect for everyone on your list, Membership Passports provide general admission for a year to the OKC Zoo plus exclusive offers while supporting the Zoo’s ongoing animal care and conservation programs. Now through January 1, 2024, when you buy a membership, you will receive a coupon good for one plush animal, regularly priced at $24.99, for FREE from the Zoo’s Safari Gift shop! View all Passport options and purchase online at okczoo.org/membership.