A rare giraffe calf without any spots has been born at Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee, and is believed to be the only one of its kind in the world. The zoo is asking the public to help name the female giraffe, who is already six feet tall and healthy.
A Unique Patternless Giraffe
The spotless giraffe was born on July 31 to her mother, a reticulated giraffe named Mahali. Reticulated giraffes are an endangered species that have large brown spots separated by cream-colored lines on their skin. The spots serve as camouflage and help regulate their body temperature.
However, the newborn giraffe has a uniform brown color, with no visible spots on her body. This is a very rare condition that has only been recorded once before, in a male giraffe born at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo in 2019. Unfortunately, that giraffe died shortly after birth due to health complications.
The zoo officials said that the spotless giraffe is healthy and active, and is under the care of her mother and the zoo staff. They also said that she is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet.
A Name for the Spotless Giraffe
The zoo has launched a contest for the public to help name the new giraffe. The contest will run from August 22 to September 6 on the zoo’s Facebook page, where people can vote for one of four names:
- Kipekee, which means “unique” in Swahili
- Firyali, which means “unusual or extraordinary”
- Shakiri, which means “she is most beautiful”
- Jamella, which means “one of great beauty”
The zoo said that they chose these names to reflect the giraffe’s rare and special appearance, as well as her African heritage.
A Spotlight on Giraffe Conservation
The zoo hopes that the publicity around the spotless giraffe will draw attention to the plight of giraffes in the wild. Giraffes are facing a silent extinction, with their population declining by 40% in the last three decades due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict.
Tony Bright, the founder of Brights Zoo, said that they are proud to be part of the conservation efforts for giraffes. The zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which aims to ensure the genetic diversity and long-term survival of endangered animals.
The zoo also supports the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, which works to protect and restore giraffe populations across Africa. The zoo encourages people to learn more about giraffes and how they can help save them from extinction.