LIMESTONE, Tenn. — A truly unique giraffe was born at Tennessee’s Brights Zoo in July, according to the zoo’s owners.
“Giraffe experts believe she is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet,” Brights Zoo stated in a release.
Zoo officials say there are records of another giraffe without spots being born in Japan in the 1970s.
“From Day 1 we’ve been in contact with zoo professionals all over the country,” said Brights Zoo director David Bright. “And especially the old timers that have been around for a long time. ‘Hey, have you seen this? What’s your thoughts?’ And nobody’s seen it.”
Brights Zoo’s founder, Tony Bright, said he knew the baby giraffe was different when she was born. Bright said you can see a giraffe’s spots right after it is born, and the new one had none.
He said they decided to check her blood work.
“Her numbers compared identically to the giraffe that was born two weeks prior to that, so we felt good. Each day she gets stronger,” said Tony Bright.
Brights Zoo has nine giraffes.
The baby giraffe is 6 feet tall and is “thriving” under her mother’s care, the zoo said. Tony Bright said she is acting like many other giraffe calves they’ve had, chewing on rocks.
“She will get down and pick up two or three rocks,” Tony Bright said. “She spits them out.”
David Bright said this new giraffe will help with conservation, showing what could happen in the wild. “It’s better she’s born in captivity,” said David Bright. “In the wild, they use those spots for camouflage. … By being solid-colored, she may not be able to hide quite as well.”
Tony Bright added: “The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation. Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40% of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last three decades.”
With the new arrival, Bright’s Zoo is asking for the public’s help in narrowing down the four chosen names for the unnamed baby giraffe.
- Kipekee – Unique
- Firyali – Unusual or Extradonary
- Shakiri – She is most beautiful
- Jamella – One of great beauty
David Bright said the names will be up on the zoo’s Facebook page Tuesday. Voting will last for two weeks.
“[The Bright family has] looked at hundreds and thousands of names, their meanings,” said David Bright. “Those four are the four the family are all really attached to. So if she’s named one of those four, we’re very happy.”