Press Release: 06/23/2014

Oakland Zoo Hosts Special Day for Giraffes

Contact:
Erin Dogan Harrison
(510)632-9525 ext. 135
eharrison@oaklandzoo.org


Oakland, CA, June 27 2014… Oakland Zoo is honoring World Giraffe Day by hosting a special day centered around giraffes. On Friday, June 27, guests will be invited to feed giraffes, meet zookeepers, and learn all about the long necked animals. Fun festivities will take place throughout the Zoo. ZooCampers will lead a parade from the main entrance of the Zoo to the African Veldt and will show guests what kinds of tree branches or browse the giraffe her enjoy eating. The public is invited to join the parade. Five times throughout the day, visitors will be given the opportunity to feed the giraffes for only $5.00 (cash) per person, feeding station will be located behind the African Veldt, across from the lion exhibit. Feedings will take place at 10:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, and 4:30pm. Teen volunteers will also set up stations for face painting and to sell raffle tickets. Visitors will have the opportunity to win a hoof print painting from Tiki the giraffe and a one-of-a-kind work of art created by zookeeper Jessica. All funds raised will be donated directly to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to support their efforts in the wild.

This day-long event will also kick-off a new and unique fundraising campaign to support giraffe conservation, called Jeans for Giraffes. As a key partner in this pilot collaboration between several zoos in California, Oakland Zoo will be collecting denim, to raise money to support giraffe research and to protect giraffe populations in Africa. We are encouraging guests to bring jeans for giraffes. Any pair of jeans will do, even those that are old and "well loved.” As an added benefit, we will be helping the planet by reducing waste: according to research, the average person in the United States throws away sixty-eight pounds of clothing and textiles per year, and 23.8 billion pounds of clothing ends up in landfills each year. Denim collection bins will be placed outside the upper and lower entrances to Oakland Zoo.

This giraffe inspired event is very important to Oakland Zoo. The impact of illegal hunting and its role in changing the giraffe population is poorly understood, which is why Oakland Zoo has a goal of raising awareness about giraffe conservation efforts.

“The decline in giraffe numbers across Africa is devastating - nearly 60% in less than 15 years,” said Darren Minier, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo. “Much is still unknown about giraffes, one of the worlds' most charismatic megafauna, which has led to many misconceptions that may be impeding conservation efforts. More baseline knowledge is needed to save giraffes, which is why the Oakland Zoo is participating in World Giraffe Day - not only to spread the word about the increasing threat of losing one of Africa's most iconic mammals, but to support the efforts of the Giraffe Conservation Network. GCF has been vital in obtaining information regarding the status and threats to giraffe in many parts of Africa, and helping to carry out plans to keep giraffes from becoming extinct. The Zoo remains committed to our keepers in their efforts, both at home and in the field, to save this unique and inspiring species.”

The total number of giraffes in Africa was estimated (by International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN) at more than 140,000 in 1998. Best estimates by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in 2013 showed an African-wide population of less than 80,000 – a 60% decline in numbers in fifteen years.

ABOUT RETICULATED GIRAFFE:
Giraffes can eat up to 80lbs of leaves a day, which stimulates shoot and leaf growth (making trees stronger) and favors seed dispersal across the landscapes. As one for the most identifiable and charismatic animals, giraffes market Africa. Their silhouettes and images are advertised on anything from tea bags to the FIFA World Cup, and it’s hard to find a tourist brochure that doesn’t have a giraffe on it. Oakland Zoo has a total of nine giraffe four males and five females. The reticulated giraffes can be seen daily at the Zoo's African Veldt from 10:00am - 4:00pm.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.

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