Al Ain Zoo provides endangered Rothschild’s Giraffes with the highest standards of care


AL AIN : As part of Al Ain Zoo’s efforts to protect rare and endangered species, it pays special attention to the safety and wellbeing of the Rothschild’s Giraffes, as they are classified as “endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due the continuous destruction of their natural habitats and illegal hunting.

Native to Kenya’s and Uganda’s African desert’s savannah, the Zoo currently hosts 19 Rothschild’s Giraffes, the most senior of which is 25 years old.

Al Ain Zoo started housingthe Rothschild’s Giraffes back in 1974, providing them with the utmost levels of care and initiated a breeding program. Now, the Rothschild’s Giraffe family has successfully grown to 6 males and 13 females. The efforts come as part of the Zoo’s quest to preserve endangered wildlife and raise awareness on the importance of nature conservation, through research, knowledge and adopting an active role in protecting biodiversity.

The Zoo has created a range of awareness-raising and fun experiences for visitors to interact with and learn about giraffes, such as the feeding experience where giraffes are called by the ringing of bells so that visitors can offer them their favorite snacks, consisting of carrots and lettuce, in addition to the wonderful ‘breakfast with giraffes’ encounter. During these experiences, visitors get the chance to learn about the characteristics of giraffes through talks from theircaregivers who explain their vulnerability to extinction and the efforts exerted to protect these beautiful animals. Visitors also get the opportunity to take selfies with giraffes so they can post them on their social media platforms while enjoying the feeding experience at the African exhibition and during the Al Ain Safari, helping to spread the message of conservation.

The Zoo even asks its visitors to participate in choosing names for the animals it homes through its social media platforms where people can share their name suggestions and vote for the best name. This is how the names Zaafarana, Jumbo, Macilia, Billy and the newly born Luna were named based on ideas from Al Ain Zoo’s social media followers.

Giraffes are known to be the tallest mammals on the planet, and the Rothschild’s measures up to two metres in height at birth, reaching up to 5.8 meters in adulthood. Their prehensile tongue is around 45 centimeters long in order to wrap around high branches and strip the leaves that make up the bulk of their diet, and while most giraffes have only 2 ‘horns’ (or ossicones), the Rothschild, also known as the Baringo Giraffe, has 5, and their skin is uniquely characterized by soft-toned beautiful yellow and black spots, but with no markings on the lower leg, it looks like they are wearing white socks!

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