Have you seen two giraffes in the African Rifts at Mesker Park Zoo? Don’t worry, it’s not an optical allusion — the zoo and botanic garden announced the newest member of their family, Kijana the reticulated giraffe, on Feb. 26.
Only a few months older than Mesker’s other gentle giant, Clementine, Kijana was born in May 2017 at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Michigan. She made her move to Evansville to be a companion to Clementine after the beloved Kiah passed away at 29 years old on Oct. 14, 2020.
As herd animals, it’s important for giraffes to remain social and build relationships. While the spotted duo spends the colder months in their heated barn, they are sure to greet visitors more frequently from their enclosure — which they share with two lively zebras — as the weather continues to get warmer.
According to Mesker’s announcement on Facebook, the conservation of giraffes in the wild is an increasingly important effort. Their numbers in Africa have declined by 33 percent in the last 15 years in what experts are calling a silent extinction.
You can find information on giraffe conservation efforts at giraffeconservation.org. In the meantime, be sure to visit Kijana (who has darker spots than Clementine) and give her a big welcome to Evansville!
Photo courtesy of Misty Minar, Botanical Curator of Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden.