Giraffes are best known for their long necks, crazy tongues and hexagonal-like spots. Except this cutie!
A zoo in Tennessee welcomed a rare sight, when a spotless calf was born on July 31. The Brights Zoo believes she is the only solid-coloured giraffe on the planet.
The calf is a reticulated giraffe, one of the four giraffe species. Scientists have said that reticulated giraffes (Giraffa reticulata) are born without spots on rare occasions, but there are currently no other living examples on Earth.
A one-of-a-kind giraffe
Reticulated giraffes are native to Africa, and are known for their orange-brown spots. In 2018, they were listed as endangered according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
“From day one we’ve been in contact with zoo professionals all over the country,” the zoo’s director, David Bright, told a local Tennessee TV news station.
“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.”
Already an Internet star!
Pictures and videos of the Tennessee calf have been shared to the Brights Zoo Facebook Page. She can be seen standing next to her mother – who stands tall, covered in spots. The zoo has also asked the public to help name the calf, by voting for one of the four names available.
“This will run until Labor Day, September 4. On that day, we will tally up all the votes and announce her name,” the zoo wrote on the post.
The zoo has picked 4 Swahili names, these are:
- Kipekee (Unique)
- Firyali (Unusual or Extraordinary)
- Shakiri (Most Beautiful)
- Jamella (One of Great Beauty)
The rare calf has already gained a lot of attention online. The zoo has also the post as an opportunity to raise awareness about giraffes’ struggle for survival in the wild.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation reportedly says there is only an estimated 16,000 reticulated giraffes left in the wild. An over 50% decrease since 35 years ago.
Media reports say there are some 117,000 giraffes across the four species and nine subspecies. Many have been labeled vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered.