For Release: November 15, 2006
Peper Long (202) 633-3082
John Gibbons (202) 633-3083
Giraffe Leaves the National Zoo for Florida
"Randle," the 4-year-old Rothschild's giraffe at the Smithsonian's National Zoo, boarded a trailer this morning bound for his new home at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Fla., where he will join four other male giraffes.
National Zoo staff moved Randle, the Zoo's only giraffe, in preparation for Asia Trail II, called "Elephant Trails," the renovation and expansion of the Zoo’s Asian elephant exhibit. Although construction of Elephant Trails is not scheduled to begin until late spring 2007, Zoo staff arranged for Randle's early relocation to avoid the unpredictable winter weather in the Washington area.
Other animals at the Zoo's current elephant exhibit—one Nile hippo, two pygmy hippos and two capybaras—also will be moved to other AZA-accredited zoos or relocated within the National Zoo during the next year.
Born in 2002 at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, Randle arrived at the National Zoo in November 2003. The National Zoo has begun a master planning process, which will address among other things, what species the Zoo will exhibit in the future. Giraffes will be part of this consideration.
Giraffes are the world’s tallest animal, reaching heights of 16 to 18 feet. They are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Ancient Romans called giraffes "camelopards," describing them as hybrid animals with camel bodies and leopard spots.
Note to editors: Photos of Randle are available through the National Zoo’s Office of Public Affairs.