Giraffe lovers, listen up! The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has announced that these wonderful tall-necked, long-tongued creatures have gone from being a species of ‘least concern’ to ‘vulnerable to extinction’.
This change in classification has happened because the giraffe population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last 30 years – dropping from an estimated 163,452 in 1985 to 97,500 in 2015.
This is an issue close to our heart because at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm we have our own herd of giraffes – fondly known as Gerald, Genevieve, George and Geoffrey.
Did you know?
So, why do we think giraffes are so brilliant? Well, if they were up for an award, they’d win tallest mammal hooves down – they’re around 6ft when they’re born and grow to be a whopping 20ft.
The saying goes that a leopard can’t change its spots, and a giraffe isn’t much different in this sense: no two have the same pattern – meaning their markings are a little like fingerprints: unique.
And if you ever stick your tongue out at a giraffe, you’ll find it’s not much of a competition – their tongues are 18 to 20 inches long and a striking blue-black colour (which incidentally is to stop them getting sun burn while they’re munching away).
So, what can you do to support these beautiful beasts in 2017?
Help a wild giraffe
We’re committed to supporting conservation and each year on World Giraffe Day (21st June) we raise money for the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). With less than 100,000 giraffes left in the wild, these tall and sturdy beasts need you more than ever before. Why not donate to GCF to help support giraffes living in the African savannah? You could even adopt a giraffe living in the wild, or perhaps you could hold your own event to help raise money for giraffes on World Giraffe Day?
Adopt one of our giraffes
As well as supporting wild giraffes running free on the African grasslands, there are plenty of ways you can support giraffes that live a little closer to home. For just £35, you can adopt a giraffe that lives at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm by purchasing an Animal Gift Box Adoption through our online shop. These boxes contribute to the cost of keeping these rare animals, meaning that you’re doing your bit to help out this dwindling species. It’s also educational as you get a factsheet all about these wonderful creatures.
Although you don’t get to take one home with you as part of an adoption (they do need lots of space to run around, you know), you’ll get an adoption gift box complete with a cuddly toy. As well as a certificate, you’ll also get your name displayed by their enclosure – what better way to show that you’ve made a difference? You’ll even get a free day ticket so you can come and visit your adopted animal whenever you like!
Come and say “hello”
Set in 110 acres of land, our giraffes can trot and frolic as much as they please. It might be a little chilly still, but luckily our giraffe house is heated so that they’re still toasty even in winter.
Learn about giraffes
Each day at 2pm we have a talk about giraffes in the Giraffe House where you can learn more about these graceful and rare creatures. From what they eat (in the wild they eat shoots and Acacia leaves), to how long they live (up to 25 years), you’ll find out all the things you wanted to know about these animals from our experienced keepers.
Meet a giraffe
We offer close encounters of the tall kind, in the form of Giraffe Encounter experiences. For an additional £20 per person, one animal lover can meet and even feed our giraffes when they visit the zoo.
Book your encounter at the ticket office on the day of your visit before 1.30pm. This experience is available Monday to Saturday at 2pm after the Giraffe Talk and it’s first-come, first-served. Stand-in giraffe-feeders must be six years old or above, and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Help support these wonderful creatures by visiting us at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm today!