For Release: January 13
Contact: Peper Long 202-673-0206
New Giraffe on Exhibit at the National Zoo
The Smithsonian's National Zoological Park yesterday welcomed a new Rothschild giraffe to the Elephant House.
The one-year-old, male giraffe came from The Wilds, a conservation preserve in Cumberland, Ohio. He was released from quarantine yesterday and introduced to the Zoo's resident giraffe, a female Reticulated giraffe.
All new animals arriving at the National Zoo must be quarantined for at least 30 days, often at a separate facility near the Zoo's veterinary hospital. During this time, staff observes the animal's health, including checks for parasites or other conditions that may affect other animals in the exhibit. In addition, the quarantine period allows animals to grow accustomed to the sights, staff, and smells of their new surroundings, which helps make their eventual introductions to exhibit mates a bit more predictable.
While the World Conservation Union lists giraffes as being at low risk of extinction, several giraffe subspecies, but not the Rothschild's giraffe, are considered rare.
These graceful animals grow to approximately 16 feet tall and weigh between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds.
Giraffes live in open habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, and travel in loosely structured herds. They sleep for about 30 minutes a day, and that time is usually split up into several short naps.
Founded in 1889, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park exhibits living animal and plant collections that celebrate, study and protect the diversity of animals and their habitats. Each year, nearly three million visitors enjoy the 163-acre park, which is free of charge. The National Zoo is a leading research center for conservation and reproductive biology, with scientists working at the Zoo as well as its 3,200-acre Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va. Currently there are approximately 2,700 animals from 435 species in the Zoo's collection.