An Extremely Rare “Spotless” Giraffe is Born in a Tennessee Zoo, & She Needs a Name

The birth of what is thought to be the world’s only spotless giraffe has been announced at a Tennessee zoo, and she is creating quite a stir with her uniform coat of tan sans any pattern whatsoever. The baby was welcomed into the world at Brights Zoo in Limestone on July 31st, and the “little one” is already 6 feet tall and quite the sensation.

The baby and her mother are reticulated giraffes, which are known to be the tallest animals on the planet. There are four distinct species of giraffe and several subspecies. Far and few between, the last recorded spotless giraffe, named Toshiko, was reportedly born in 1972 in Tokyo at the Ueno Zoo, so they don’t exactly come along every day.

spotless giraffe
Photo: Facebook/BrightsZoo

Rare Giraffe Calf Makes the News

Typically, each giraffe has a unique pattern that is believed to be inherited from its mother. The skin beneath the spots contains a system of blood vessels that allow giraffes to release heat through the center of each patch, thus providing a form of thermal regulation. Their coats act as camouflage in the wild.

Brights Zoo noted that it hopes the unusual birth of this rare, patternless baby might help highlight the challenges faced by giraffes in Africa, such as fragmentation of habitats and illegal poaching.

spotless giraffe
Photo: Facebook/BrightsZoo

Giraffe Conservation Efforts

“The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,” the founder of Brights Zoo, Tony Bright, explained to local news station WCYB. “Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40 percent of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last three decades.”

spotless giraffe
Photo: Facebook/BrightsZoo

Giraffe Naming Contest

On Sunday, August 20, the zoo announced they were holding a contest open to the public for naming the unique youngster, who is now on display with her mother. The options include Kipekee, which translates to “unique” in Swahili; Firayali = “unusual”; Shakiri = “she is most beautiful”; and Jamella = “one of great beauty,” which she certainly is.

Brights Zoo is a private, family-owned facility located in the hills of eastern Tennessee. Animals living there include some rare and endangered species, such as addax, bongo, scimitar-horned oryx, and Bactrian camels. In addition to giraffes, the center also contains more common but exotic creatures like red kangaroos, spider monkeys, pandas, and zebras.

You can see the sweet baby giraffe in action in the YouTube video clip below.

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