World Giraffe Day Recap

OKC Zoo animal caretaker and giraffe superfan Jesse Knoll recapped this year's World Giraffe Day festivities...

The Oklahoma City Zoo celebrated World Giraffe Day on Friday, June 21, 2019. This global event, sponsored locally by Bob Moore Subaru, celebrates giraffes and helps bring awareness to the challenges giraffes are facing in the wild. I had the pleasure of working the activity booth for the event, offering several activities that the guests could participate in. One was a silhouette of Africa, which showed where different populations of giraffes could be found. This helped to highlight the sad fact that giraffes aren’t as far-ranging as they once were. In fact, within the last 30 years, giraffe populations have decreased by about 30%. Another activity we had was a tree filled with purple suckers. Guests used a giraffe animal grabber to pull the suckers down off of the tree, imitating the way giraffes pull leaves down off of trees. After eating the sucker, their tongues would turn purple, just like a giraffe! With their newly colored tongue they were encouraged to take a picture next to a large photo of one of our giraffes, Ellie, with her tongue sticking out. Too bad the purple coloring on their tongue won’t act as a natural sunscreen like it does for a giraffe! Finally, we had a giraffe skull, some teeth, and some tail hair from the Education department with which we were able to highlight some of the amazing features giraffes have. We had a great turnout of participants, with about 400 people stopping by our booth and talking with us. One guest told me he had saved up his allowance specifically to come and feed the giraffes on World Giraffe Day. It was heartwarming to see someone so young care so much about conservation.

I was also lucky enough to attend the fundraising event at Fassler Hall that evening at Fassler Hall in Oklahoma City. They donated 20% of the night's proceeds to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), based in Namibia. World Giraffe Day and all related festivities originated with the GCF in 2014. The organization choose the longest day of the year (and the first day of summer!) for the tallest animal on the planet. This year, the GCF had a worldwide goal of raising $1 million to radio collar 250 giraffes across Africa in order to better understand population numbers and movements. Fassler Hall and the OKC Zoo did our part, raising over $1,500 by simply enjoying delicious food in a fun atmosphere. I am so thankful to everyone who came and supported the event. It may not seem like much, but the littlest bit can make a world of difference.

Share |
Search the site