When some people imagine giraffes, they think of very tall, orange, herbivores with brown spots, but believe it or not, they can be born without spots.
According to National Geographic, “Giraffes are the world's tallest mammals, thanks to their towering legs and long necks. A giraffe's legs alone are taller than many humans—about 6 feet.” Giraffes use their spots to camouflage in the wild. These wonderful animals are found wild in East Africa and around the world in captivity.
In Brights Zoo, Tennessee, a new baby giraffe was born on July 31st. This giraffe is the only reticulated giraffe without spots, and it was born at 6 feet.
According to CNN “The zoo said she might be the ‘only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet.’” The last spotless giraffe born in captivity was in Tokyo in 1972.
This new little wonder is named Kipekee, which means “unique” in Swahili. “The zoo asked fans to vote between four names: Kipekee; Firyali, which means unusual or extraordinary; Shakiri which means “she is most beautiful,” and Jamella, “one of great beauty.” The zoo held a public vote to decide the name and Kipekee won with about 40,000 votes.
Kipekee has brought much needed publicity to giraffe conservation. There are only about 16,000 reticulated giraffes in the wild, and they have had about a 50% decline over the past 35 years.
Kipekee, the spotless giraffe, has been a worldwide sensation for her unique coat. She has helped Brights Zoo and conservation programs all over the world.