Friday, June 21, 2019

VOA News and WFTX-TV report on World Giraffe Day for the Summer Solstice

Happy World Giraffe Day!  I begin this year's observance by noting that the day has finally appeared at National Day Calendar.
World Giraffe Day is an annual event initiated by Giraffe Conservation Federation to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day of the year.

It’s estimated there are 111,000 giraffes in the world. In some areas, traditionally regarded as prime giraffe habitat, numbers have dropped by 95%.

Giraffe facts:
  • Giraffes are typically 14 to 20 feet tall.
  • Giraffes weigh between 1,600 and 3,000 pounds
  • A full-grown giraffe eats more than 100 lb of leaves and twigs a day.
  • Giraffes feed from the tops of trees, using their tongues and lips to pull off leaves.
  • Giraffe tongues are long, reaching around 20–21 in
  • Giraffes sleep less than two hours a day. In general, they sleep with their feet tucked under them and their head resting on their hindquarters, but they can also sleep for short periods standing up
  • Giraffe horns are not horns. They are ossicones.No one seems to know what they are for. The horns may help males intimidate one another during mating season, or they may be a sexually selected characteristic (that is, males with more impressive ossicones may be more attractive to females). It’s possible the ossicones may even help to dissipate heat in the blazing African sun.
Enough facts and text.  Voice of America AKA VOA News uploaded a video last year showing efforts to save the giraffe in World Giraffe Day Brings Attention to Their Declining Numbers.

June 21st is World Giraffe Day, celebrating the iconic long-necked African animal. But giraffe populations have been decreasing at a rapid pace, and researchers warn they could become extinct in the near future. In northern Kenya, a conservation program is working to protect the native reticulated giraffe, known for its distinctive striped patterns. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
That's an example of what's going in in Africa to save the animals.  Follow over the jump for another example of how the one to four species of giraffes (yes, there is some controversy over the diversity of extant giraffes) are being preserved here in the U.S.

For a special day that is only five years old, it has gained a lot of traction, including lots of local news coverage.  The most extensive I saw on YouTube today came from WFTX-TV, Fox 4 in Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, which uploaded four segments shot on location at the Naples Zoo this morning.  I present them in order of uploading, beginning with Naples Zoo to celebrate World Giraffe Day on Saturday.

The Naples Zoo contributes to saving the species by keeping the males in a captive breeding program that they lend out to other zoos.  That way, zoos do not have to capture wild animals for display, which reduces the strain on wild populations and could breed animals for release into the wild when and if needed.

Next, Naples Zoo celebrates World Giraffe Day on Saturday.

The third clip invites its viewers to Celebrate World Giraffe Day at the Naples Zoo.

Now the final clip, World Giraffe Day at the Naples Zoo.

That was a fun series of location spots, if a bit repetitive.  Fox 4 unfortunately reinforced that aspect by posting the same video description for all four clips.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., guests can participate in a scavenger hunt for a chance to win a zoo membership, as well as five giraffe exploration stations. Guests can also purchase a "Save the Giraffe" wristband.
Still, this is a good excuse to go to one's local zoo.  For example the Detroit Zoo is holding zookeeper talks today.
Giraffe numbers have plummeted in the wild over the last 15 years, down by more than 40 percent from approximately 140,000 to less than 80,000 individuals. Join us for hands-on learning activities and zookeeper talks as we celebrate this important species and reticulated giraffes Jabari, Kivuli and Mpenzi.
Here's to all of my readers who can spare the time to go to their local zoo celebrating today by visiting their local giraffes.

Finally, since I never miss it either, Happy Summer Solstice!

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