Giraffes are a symbol of African wildlife, tall, majestic and striking. With 9 different subspecies, and a range across the continent of Africa, giraffes are a charismatic ambassador for wildlife. This past week, they extended their range to reach deep in the heart of Texas.
The San Antonio Zoo has been without giraffes for 5 years, but after an extensive reconstruction and exhibit redesign, has reopened with 3 beautiful reticulated giraffes, a family group made up of an 8 year old male and his 3 year old sons.
The giraffes have some time to themselves to get used to their brand new exhibit modeled after the African Savanna, but the Zoo will soon be introducing other species that would share their spaces with giraffes as well, including zebras and other African hoofstock. Not only is this an opportunity for guests to experience these animals in a meaningful way, it’s a critical conservation step, especially for the reticulated giraffe, which is facing serious issues in their wild habitats.
Reticulated giraffes are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and it is estimated less than 5,000 remain in the wild. Their numbers are dwindling, and fast, due to threats from poachers, predators and habitat loss, as humans continuously encroach on the land where the giraffes roam.
Not only will the San Antonio Zoo be providing guests an opportunity to see the giraffes, the exhibit provides multiple shaded viewing platforms, interpretations by zoo educators and animal care staff, and even a giraffe feeding experience, in order to truly make a connection with one of Africa’s most powerful ambassadors.
Here at ZooNation.com, we will continue to update you on the giraffe’s progress as they get used to their new home, and as more species join them in the San Antonio Zoo’s new Savanna exhibit.