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Zoo Knoxville’s baby giraffe officially has a name

zoo knoxville baby giraffe
Jumbe Junior (J.J.), Zoo Knoxville's baby giraffe. Image courtesy of Zoo Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE – The votes have been counted and Zoo Knoxville’s baby giraffe has a name! The 3-month-old male has been officially christened “Jumbe Junior”, in honor of his father, and will be called “J.J.”. His name was announced during a Facebook Live event by Zoo President and CEO Lisa New.

The name was chosen by a popular vote of options carefully selected from the thousands submitted by the community. Jumbe (pronounced JOOM-bay) Junior is perfectly fitting because this little giraffe adores his father.

The winner was chosen by voters who generously made a donation of a dollar per vote for their favorite name. The voting raised over $1,500 that will support the care of the zoo’s giraffe herd and the zoo’s mission to save giraffe from extinction as part of the collaborative efforts of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Giraffe Species Survival Plan.

J.J. is the second offspring born at Zoo Knoxville for Frances and Jumbe. The two were paired on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, which supports conservation in the wild and maintains a healthy, genetically diverse population for the long-term future.

The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically over the last few years, and now there are fewer than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa. They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat. With a recent 40% decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered, and this little giraffe is an important ambassador for his species.

Published March 18, 2021

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