There’s a new giraffe at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!
Faye, a two-year-old female reticulated giraffe, joined the herd this winter. Her arrival makes a total of eight giraffes in the zoo’s herd.
Is eight enough?
Born at the zoo in Cape May, New Jersey, Faye traveled to Fort Wayne in a specialized truck. She is not related to either of our male giraffes, so Faye represents a new bloodline that will boost the genetic diversity of the zoo-dwelling giraffe population. “Faye might breed with Ezeji when she’s mature enough,” says zoo keeper Aimée Nelson, “but that won’t be until she’s at least three to four years old.”
The zoo is committed to ensuring genetic diversity and sustainability within the zoo-dwelling population, and also supports conservation and sustainability of wild giraffes in Africa. Through financial support, the zoo helps to fund the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s ongoing research to better understand all nine subspecies of giraffes found throughout Africa.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has confirmed that wild giraffe populations are in a state of decline. Timely research is critical in the race to effectively estimate numbers that remain in the wild and to assess the status of each subspecies.
For now Faye is getting to know the herd in the zoo’s state-of-the-art giraffe barn. Nelson says that the new girl plays with young Kiango, who was born in June. Nelson has also observed a possible bond forming between Faye and Kiango’s mom, Zahra. Faye also displays some bold personality traits. “She has a fearless quality and she’s doing very well with her training. We think she’ll choose to go into the exhibit when the weather allows.”
African Journey manager Amber Eagleson expects Faye to be a “regular” at the feeding platform. “She’s always motivated to eat and accepts treats from keepers, so we think she’ll approach the guests this year.”
You can buy lettuce to feed Faye and the rest of the herd when the zoo opens for the 2016 season on April 23. Until then, learn more about giraffe conservation in the wild and what you can do to support Faye’s wild cousins.