The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

Press Room


Year of the Giraffe Kick Off Party To Be Held Sunday, October 1, 2017
PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS, CA • September 15, 2017

Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is launching a year-long conservation effort focused on saving the majestic giraffe from extinction. To kick off its Year of the Giraffe campaign, on Sunday, October 1, 2017, The Living Desert is hosting a daytime event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free for members or with paid park admission.

The Year of the Giraffe launch party includes the opportunity for guests to get up-close and personal with the zoo’s herd of eight giraffe at all day feeding sessions and learn about these amazing animals at special giraffe keeper chats. The day’s events also include a giraffe spot challenge scavenger hunt, Juma the Giraffe storytime, animal encounters, arts and crafts, live entertainment by the festive Zulluu band, plus food and beverage specials. In addition, special behind-the-scenes giraffe tours are available at an additional cost with limited availability.

Year of the Giraffe festivities will be fun, yet educational, and are designed to bring attention to the decreasing population of this remarkable animal,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “Every time someone visits The Living Desert, they help save endangered species, and we encourage people of all ages to get involved and make a difference.”

The Living Desert is home to a herd of eight giraffe:

  • three adults - Hesabu (m), Tuli (f), and Dadisi (f)

  • three adolescent males - Kapono, Ayo, and Twiga

  • two calves – Harold, a male born April 28, 2017 and the youngest, Shellie Muujiza, a female

    calf born August 27, 2017.

    Year of the Giraffe aims is to raise awareness about the silent extinction of the giraffe population and inspire conservation action. Giraffe are currently listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the population of giraffes is on a rapid decline, down 40 percent across Africa in the past few decades. This is due to a number of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with human population growth and illegal hunting. It is estimated there are fewer than 98,000 giraffe left in the wild.

    Native to central and southern Africa, giraffe are the tallest mammals on earth and an adult giraffe can weigh more than 2,700 pounds. Giraffe spend most of their lives standing up, including when they sleep and give birth.

    The Living Desert’s Year of the Giraffe conservation action plan includes supporting two distinct projects in Africa. The first project is the Giraffe Conservation Foundations’ Conserving Namibia’s

Desert-Dwelling Angolan Giraffe project, which is the first long-term ecological monitoring effort focused on desert-dwelling giraffe in Namibia. The second project is Wild Nature Institute’s Celebrating Africa’s Giants: Environmental Education for Conservation of Giraffes, Elephants, and Rhinoceroses, which provides an environmental mobile education program that reaches over 5,000 school children per year in Tanzania. As part of the zoo's continued commitment to giraffe conservation The Living Desert’s Director of Education, Mike Chedester, recently returned

from Tanzania with the Wild Nature Institute where he helped implement the environmental education programming.

The Living Desert is open daily through September 30 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and October 1
to May 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about upcoming events and activities, please call (760) 346-5694 or visit

About The Living Desert:

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.