Oakland, CA — A young, female giraffe was brought to Oakland Zoo from Kansas City-based Lee Richardson Zoo on April 29. The move, prompted by a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to promote genetic diversity in captive giraffe, deemed Kijiji’s genetics an excellent match for Oakland Zoo’s male resident giraffe, Mabusu.

Kijiji’s 30-hour journey from Kansas City was handled by seasoned animal transport company, Premier Animal Logistics, and included frequent stops to check on her during the drive. A modified 13’6” tall trailer was used, with an enhanced interior for a safe and comfortable transport for the giraffe.

Kijiji is nearly two years old and eleven feet tall. She is still too young to have her own offspring, female giraffe typically show interest in breeding around 4 years of age. When that time comes, Oakland Zoo’s animal care team hope for a ‘love connection’ between Kijiji and Mabusu, resulting in her becoming a first-time mother.

For the time being, Kijiji has met Oakland Zoo’s five other resident giraffe and was warmly welcomed into the herd. She is still learning her way around her new surroundings, and while she has been able to access the giraffe exhibit, she only chose to venture inside it this morning (May 7).  For the past several days, she chose only to curiously look into the exhibit from a holding area.

Animal keepers have been watching and observing with quiet and excited anticipation and were thrilled to see her first steps into the exhibit to join the other giraffe today.

Kijiji is doing great. She was in good spirits upon her arrival to Oakland, and she has been eating well and exploring her surroundings. We can already see that she has a curious nature, and we’re thrilled to have her join our giraffe family,” said Ann Marie Bisagno, Zoological Manager at Oakland Zoo ­— Conservation Society of California.

By having giraffe at the zoo, the goal and hope is to bring appreciation and awareness to the giraffe species, including the challenges they face in the wild. Oakland Zoo partners with the Reticulated Giraffe Project in Kenya, a conservation organization dedicated to working with local communities in Africa to help reduce human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss in order to preserve endangered giraffe populations in the wild.

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