World Giraffe DayRoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care June 21, 2021
June 21st is known for being the start of summer and the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. For us, here at The Living Desert, this date marks the day we celebrate our longest-necked animals that call the zoo home, the giraffe. Today is World Giraffe Day, a worldwide celebration for the tallest animals on the planet. This is a day when all the giraffe lovers in the world spread awareness for these long-legged beauties and share the challenges that they face in the wild. We hope you will join us in supporting these efforts today.
In the past few years, we have spread the message that giraffe are in a silent extinction, which means many people were unaware that their numbers had drastically decreased in the wild and this species was in trouble. It is estimated that there are approximately only 117,000 giraffe in the wild, and the IUCN lists them as Vulnerable. Comparatively, there are 415,000 elephants left across Africa. These numbers might seem like a lot but consider that the giraffe population has decreased by almost 40 percent in just the last 30 years. Through our work with the Giraffe SAFE program within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, all the zoos that give a home to giraffe have worked hard to spread this message.
On this World Giraffe Day 2021, we ask you to join us in spreading the message about giraffe. The giraffe herd here at the zoo is often a place where you hear adoring comments about how beautiful they are, how majestic they are or how slimy their purple tongues are, which is often followed by a giggle after feeding them a piece of lettuce. We know most people love the giraffe and admire them but we really want to help broaden the reach of how many people know about their plight. You can help us keep them from disappearing from the planet
No matter what you do today, we hope you will celebrate these majestic giants of Africa with us. If you have visited the zoo, then just by visiting you help us help wildlife and we thank you for your support. We know we cannot save these incredible species like giraffe without your help.
And remember, use #standtallforgiraffe on all your giraffe posts today. Let’s get this message spread around the globe, together we can make a difference.
Here are a few ways you can show your support today!
- If you have watched a herd of giraffe walk across the savanna, have an amazing photo of you with a giraffe or have a memorable story about your encounter with a giraffe, we would love for you to share those stories and photos via social media today. Use #standtallforgiraffe and share your photos and stories with the world.
- You can also visit the website of one of our conservation partners like Wild Nature Institute, at wildnatureinstitute.org and learn more about the invaluable work they do that we support. While on their site make sure you check out the music video written especially with the intent to save giraffe. It’s quite the catchy tune!
- You can also adopt a giraffe here at the zoo! Adopt Now>>
Did You Know...
- Human fingerprints are unique to each individual on the planet. Giraffe coat patterns are the same, there are no two giraffe exactly alike on the planet.
- Giraffe are built for the hot desert summers. They do not need to drink all the time and sometimes will only drink every few days or when water is available.
- Giraffe are often mistaken for having horns or antlers. Actually, they have neither, both the males and females have ossicones at the top of their head. This is ossified cartilage that hardens into the skull and is covered by skin. The purpose of ossicones is not entirely clear but it is said that males use them when sparring with other males, since the extra weight gives them a bit of an advantage when swinging their heads.
- To many people's surprise, the United States is part of the problem. Between 2006 and 2015, the United States imported 21,402 giraffe-bone carvings, 3,008 giraffe-skin pieces and 3,744 giraffe hunting trophies.