The Spotless Giraffe at the Tennessee Zoo may be plain, but he’s definitely not ordinary.
The female reticulated giraffe was born on July 31 at the Brights Zoo in Limestone, a rural community in northeast Tennessee. David Bright, one of the zoo’s owners, said the plain brown animal was rare.
Research has identified another giraffe born without a pattern in Tokyo in 1972 and two others before that.
Spots are camouflage for giraffes in the wild. The still-unnamed cub is healthy and on display at the 41-hectare zoo with its mother, he said.
The zoo took the unusual step of posting about the giraffe on its Facebook page in an effort to help conservation efforts, Bright said.
“We generally don’t really put any kids in the zoo, but because this is such a unique situation, we knew it would bring a lot of attention to the giraffes, which would help us direct people to, ‘hey, this is how.’ you can help giraffes in the wild,” he said.
According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the number of animals in the wild has declined in recent decades. In the 1980s, there were about 155,000 giraffes in Africa, compared to about 117,000 today.
“We think giraffe numbers have declined by about 30 percent in the last 30 to 35 years, but we also see that conservation efforts are making a difference,” said Stephanie Fennessy, the foundation’s director.
While asking the public to help choose a name for the animal, the zoo is also asking people to consider donations to the conservation.
“We want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to see these wonderful animals in the future,” the post reads.
Suggested baby names include Kipekee, which means unique in Swahili; Firali, meaning unusual; Shakiri, which means the most beautiful; or Jamella, meaning great beauty. The votes will be counted on September 4 and the new name will be announced.
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