Voters Will Choose Name of Zoo Knoxville's Baby Giraffe

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Voters Will Choose Name of Zoo Knoxville's Baby Giraffe

Posted: 03/05/2021
It’s time to choose a name for the giraffe calf! 
Zoo Giraffe Calf
Zoo Knoxville is asking the community to christen him by making a donation of a dollar per vote for their favorite name.  The funds raised will support the care of the zoo’s giraffe herd and the zoo’s mission to save giraffe from extinction as part of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaborative effort of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in North America.

Five names were carefully selected from the thousands submitted by the community.  The options are:

•   Jumbe Junior (J.J.), because this little giraffe adores his father Jumbe

•   Zawadi, which means “gift” in the Swahili language

•   Major, a tribute to the legendary Johnny Majors, head football coach at the University of Tennessee from 1977 to 1992

•   Sky, because that’s where giraffes dwell!

•   Jacob, the mascot and namesake of Knox Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ Read City USA #MillionHourExpedition, who is helping encourage the community to log a million hours of reading in 2021.

Votes can be cast now through Sunday, March 14, 2021, online.  The zoo winning name will be announced on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

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 recent 40 percent decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered.  This calf will help ensure a healthy giraffe population for the future conservation of his species.