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Zoo Knoxville anticipates giraffe birth in December

KNOXVILLE – Zoo Knoxville is preparing for the birth of a giraffe calf in December. This will be the second calf born to five-year-old Frances and 18-year-old Jumbe (pronounced JOOM-bay). The projected due date is December 17, 2020.

Zoo Knoxville is part of a collaborative network of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) throughout the U.S. working to save giraffes from extinction. Poaching and habitat destruction have devastated wild populations. Over the last three decades, giraffe populations have decreased by 40%, with the animals now locally extinct in 7 African countries. Giraffe are now considered vulnerable to extinction.

  zoo knoxville giraffe frances
Zoo Knoxville's pregnant giraffe - five-year-old Frances; image submitted

“The birth of an endangered animal always inspires hope, perhaps even more so in 2020,” says Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education. “This baby is critical to maintaining a healthy and viable population for the future and that’s one of the most important jobs we have as a modern zoo. Our guests can also be champions for giraffe conservation by visiting us and helping us care for our herd.”

Zoo Knoxville is home to four giraffes, females Bea, Francis and Lucille, and male Jumbe. You can go behind the scenes with the giraffe team and learn how they care for the herd on the zoo’s new original series “The Wild Life”, streaming online at

Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit

Published August 29, 2020

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