Giraffes in the wild begin life with a meager 8% chance of survival into adulthood. By the age of one, that rate increases to 50%.
That’s why we threw a big party when Kiango the baby giraffe turned one, then followed with a World Giraffe Day celebration. Combined zoo attendance for both days was 7,503 guests.
The zoo’s reticulated giraffes are ambassadors for their cousins in the wild, helping us to educate guests on the difficult situation that wild giraffes face. “Many people don’t know that giraffe numbers are in decline,” says zoo keeper Aimée Nelson, “Two subspecies of giraffes are already endangered. People are calling it the ‘silent extinction’.”
Nelson was pleased with the turnout at both events, “Education is our biggest asset for preventing extinction. Giraffes can’t reverse their population decline on their own. They need our help.”
Baby giraffes are vulnerable to predators, and although their first birthday marks a milestone for their survival rate, other challenges remain. Poaching and habitat loss threaten wild giraffe populations. The zoo is committed to supporting conservation work in Africa and to educating our guests on giraffe conservation.
Why help giraffes? “Most people can’t imagine our planet without giraffes on it,” says Nelson, “There are less than 8,000 reticulated giraffes left in the wild. The time to act is now.”
Here’s what you can do at home to help giraffes in the wild:
- Visit the zoo! We commit $90,000 annually to conservation projects, including the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Your ticket or membership helps support this effort.
- Donate your old electronics for use by field researchers. Items currently needed include GPS devices, SD cards, digital cameras, and binoculars. Contact the zoo at (260) 427-6843 for instructions on how to donate.
- Educate yourself and your children. Our giraffe page is a great place to start!
- Adopt a zoo giraffe. Your support helps us to care for these important ambassadors.
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