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Houston Zoo Celebrates World Giraffe Day

Long-necked animals recognized on the longest day of the year.

June 21 will mark the first “World Giraffe Day.” The Houston Zoo is participating in this event to raise awareness about these animals on the longest day of the year.

It’s the Zoo’s duty to support this effort, said zookeeper Kendal Thawley. 

“The Houston Zoo is a conservation institution, so whenever there is a species that we have that needs help in the wild that’s definitely something we are going to pay attention to. We were made aware of the fact that giraffe populations are declining in the wild and so we had the opportunity to get that message out there and help people understand that.”

The giraffe population has decreased 40 percent since 2004 to less than 80,000 individuals, according to conservationists.

The day will feature extra educational events and art made by the giraffes.

Proceeds and donations collected on World Giraffe Day will go to support the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Dr. Julian Fennessy is the GCF executive officer and a conservation scientist in Namibia. The proceeds from the event will help his organization develop new programs to support the wild giraffe population, he said.

“We’ve never had anyone work full time on giraffe ever in the world. This will help provide some core funding, which will then help figure out how many giraffe are there, where they are. We are also finishing the taxonomy, getting the last bit of genetic samples from across Africa to figure out, are they species, are they subspecies? And that’s important to figure out the conservation management measures that are required.”

Working with communities and governments is another of their primary goals. Dr. Fennessy said he hopes to raise enough money to set up de-snaring and anti-poaching programs to alleviate dangers for the giraffes. 

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