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CELEBRATING WORLD GIRAFFE DAY AT JOBURG ZOO

Brümilda Swartbooi

On Friday, 21 June smiling faces lit up with excitement as visitors and staff at Johannesburg Zoo celebrated World Giraffe Day. Enthusiastic shouts of “giraffe, giraffe” echoed through the parkland as spectators marvelled at the towering giraffes enjoying their breakfast, seemingly unperturbed by the awe-struck audience.

The zoo’s giraffe family includes three females named Gia, Buhle, and Mitchell, along with the father, Madolo, and a new baby calf born on 21 May. The celebration featured a competition to name the new calf, with visitors submitting their suggestions into a box. 

In a draw, a grade 6 learner from Christian Brother College Boksburg, Rhys Diesel, proposed the winning name, and the new calf is now officially called Dani.

“I’m super excited that the name I chose was selected. I will come back and visit Dani,” Diesel exclaimed.

Pinky Modiba, a zookeeper, kicked off the day with an engaging icebreaker to excite the learners and visitors. “What day are we celebrating today? What interesting facts are there about giraffes?” Modiba asked, prompting eager hands to shoot up with answers. 

Modiba then explained a typical day in the life of a zookeeper. “As soon as we arrive, we count the giraffes and check their condition. If there are any issues, we address them with the Vet. After ensuring their health, we clean the enclosures and then feed them,” she explained.

Veterinarian Dr Calvin Smith highlighted the educational purpose of the day. “The main aim today is to educate you about giraffes. They are nearly endangered, and their numbers are declining primarily due to habitat destruction. Conservation awareness is crucial. I hope you learn a lot today and spread the word about giraffes. They’re a fascinating and unique species,” he said.

Here are a few interesting giraffe facts:

·      Giraffes have up to three horn-like knobs covered with skin and hair on their heads.

·      They spend most of their lives standing up; they even sleep and give birth standing up.

·      A giraffe’s spots are much like human fingerprints; no two individual giraffes have the same pattern.

·      Their diet consists of leaves, shrubs, grass, and fruit.

·      Their scientific name is Giraffa camelopardalis.

The Johannesburg Zoo, located at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and Upper Park Drive in Parkview, welcomes visitors every day of the year, including public holidays, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The main public entrance is on Upper Park Drive.

For more information, visit the Johannesburg Zoo and enjoy a day filled with fascinating wildlife experiences.

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SOURCED FROM THE CITY’S WEBSITE.

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