The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is going above and beyond to raise awareness for giraffe conservation on World Giraffe Day, Friday, June 21. Presented by Bob Moore Subaru, World Giraffe Day, is a worldwide celebration initiated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to generate support, raise awareness and attention for giraffes which are listed as vulnerable in the wild.
While at the Zoo, World Giraffe Day goers will have an opportunity participate in event activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that focus on giraffe and habitat conservation, as well as interact with the OKC Zoo’s animal and conservation experts to learn what the Zoo is doing to protect these gentle giants and what actions you can take to help. Event stations will be located by the Zoo’s giraffe habitat and include an information table with biofacts staffed by giraffe caretakers, an interactive kids’ activity with prizes, a photo opportunities and more. Event activities are free with Zoo admission.
June 21 also marks the longest day of the year, so it’s only fitting that the celebration for longest-necked animal continues with “Drafts for Giraffes,” a special evening event benefiting giraffe conservation at Fassler Hall, 421 NW 10th Street, Oklahoma City. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Fassler Hall will donate 20% of all food and beverage sales in support of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, an international science-based conservation organization that provides innovative approaches to save giraffes in the wild. OKC Zoo animal and conservation experts will be in attendance to answer questions about giraffes and the work being done to protect them. Fassler Hall is family-friendly and welcomes dogs in their outdoor patio space. To learn more, visit okczoo.org.
Wild giraffe populations have declined over the last 30 years due to habitat destruction and poaching. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognized that giraffes were in need of conservation action and created the Giraffe SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction) program in 2017. The OKC Zoo is proud to be a Giraffe SAFE partner committed to providing annual financial support for giraffe conservation programs in Africa and promoting public awareness about the plight of wild giraffes. In addition to participating in World Giraffe Day activities or Drafts for Giraffes at Fassler Hall, wildlife fans wishing to support giraffe conservation efforts can do so by purchasing a ZOOfriends membership and answering YES when asked to Round Up for Conservation while making purchases at the Zoo. Funds generated from these efforts support the OKC Zoo’s local and global conservation initiatives including Northern Rangelands Trust which protects giraffe habitat.
The OKC Zoo is home to three giraffes including females Ellie (18) and Julu (4), and male, Demetri (2).
World Giraffe Day Fun Facts
1. A giraffe’s heart weighs about 25 pounds and is the size of a basketball.
2. Giraffes have the highest blood pressure of any animal.
3. Giraffes are ruminants, meaning they have a four-chambered stomach, like a cow.
4. The giraffe uses its 18-inch prehensile tongue to remove leaves from thorny trees.
5. The tongue is a dark purple color, which prevents sunburn.
6. Giraffe horns are called ossicones, which are made of cartilage.
7. Giraffes are ungulates, meaning they have hooves and walk on their toes.
8. Giraffes have seven cervical (neck vertebrae), same as humans.
9. Giraffes have 32 teeth, same as humans; eight incisors and 24 molars.
10. The okapi is the giraffe’s closest living relative.
Let’s rise up for giraffes! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting the Zoo’s Blog. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.