Zoo Knoxville Officially on Giraffe Baby Watch

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Zoo Knoxville Officially on Giraffe Baby Watch

Posted: 06/21/2019
Zoo Knoxville is anticipating their first giraffe birth in 17 years. Frances, a three-year-old giraffe, is exhibiting signs that she is in the final stages of pregnancy and her team of caretakers are preparing for the baby’s arrival. While pinpointing the exact due date is difficult, zoo staff expect the calf to be born in the next few weeks.

“We are very excited to share this news with our community,” says Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education.  “We are hopeful that we will welcome a healthy baby, who will be an important ambassador for giraffe conservation. With the serious threats giraffes in Africa are facing, this calf is critical to maintaining a healthy and viable population for the future.”   

Frances came to Zoo Knoxville in September of 2016 to be paired with the zoo’s 16-year-old male Jumbe (pronounced JOOM-bay) on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) working to save giraffes from extinction. The AZA also works directly with field programs to save wild giraffe.  This will be the first offspring for both Frances and Jumbe.    

The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically over the last few years, and now there are fewer than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa.  They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat. With a 40% decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered.

Learn more about Zoo Knoxville at http://zooknoxville.org.