Чт. Май 23rd, 2024

The birth of a newborn giraffe is always exciting news, but there’s something especially unique about the baby giraffe who recently arrived at a zoo in Tennessee: she doesn’t have any spots.

The trait is so rare that giraffe experts believe the newborn is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe in the world, according to the Brights Zoo.

The baby giraffe arrived on July 31; the zoo said the unique newborn was “thriving” in her mother’s care, per WJHL. The newborn is already standing tall at 6 feet.

Bright Zoo

“Her numbers compared identically to the giraffe that was born two weeks prior to that, so we felt good. Each day she gets stronger,” zoo founder Tony Bright said in a press release.

Giraffes have the third-largest newborns in the animal kingdom, behind only blue whales and elephants, averaging about 165 pounds. After the long gestation period, baby giraffes enter the world already pretty fully-formed, and start taking their first wobbly steps within an hour of birth.

Zoo staff quickly noticed the baby’s unique pattern, and contacted experts to find out just how rare it was — and soon discovered their newborn was one-of-a-kind.

“From day one we’ve been in contact with zoo professionals all over the country,” Bright said. “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.”

According to CBS News, the last recorded spotless giraffe was born in 1972 at the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo.

There are no known cases of patternless giraffes in the wild, where populations have been dwindling. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, reticulated giraffes have been listed as endangered since 2018, with an estimated 16,000 individuals in the wild.

The zoo hopes the publicity around their unique giraffe will draw attention to the need for giraffe conservation efforts.

“The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,” Tony Bright said. “Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40% of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last 3 decades.”

Reticulated giraffe in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya (Shutterstock)

He also said that it’s a good thing the newborn was born in captivity — her spotless pattern would’ve made her a greater target for predators.

“In the wild, they use those spots for camouflage,” Bright explained. “By being solid colored, she may not be able to hide quite as well.”

The newborn has not been named yet, and the Bright Zoo is asking the public to help with a naming contest which will run through Labor Day. The options are all fitting descriptors of this one-of-a-kind giraffe:

  1. Kipekee – Unique
  2. Firali – Unusual or Extraordinary
  3. Shakiri – She is most beautiful
  4. Jamella – One of great beauty

Wow, we’ve never seen a giraffe like this — what a unique and beautiful newborn! We hope this exciting news brings attention to this endangered species!

Please share this exciting news if you love animals!