Admission:
$7.00 for Adults (ages 13-59)
$6.00 for Seniors (ages 60+)
$4.50 for children (ages 3-12)
Children under 3 free!

Hours:
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Last admittance at 4 p.m.
Every Thurs. June–August, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Last admittance at 8 p.m.

Contact:
2070 Zoo Lane, Abilene, TX
(325) 676-6085
abilene.zoo@abilenetx.com

Giraffe Safari: Live Cam

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Giraffe Live Feed Underwritten by KTXS-TV Storm Alert
Animals are out between 10 a.m and 4 p.m. daily.

Experience Giraffe Safari!

The Abilene Zoo’s exciting new Giraffe Safari exhibit is the result of four years of staff and volunteer work and $3.8 million of support from the community. An impressive 1,000 people and organizations donated to the project, which opened in April 2016. The multi-species exhibit is 30,400 square feet – double the space of the old giraffe habitat, allowing the animals to run and display more behaviors found in the wild.

MesiEncounterThe feeding deck is part of an area dubbed Twiga Terrace; “Twiga” is Swahili for “giraffe.” Open daily for the season: Hours are 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Open until 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays all summer!

Guests can experience giraffe encounters on the new deck, hand-feeding the giraffe healthful romaine lettuce, available for $4. The zoo’s herd is comprised of four adult female reticulated giraffe, one male Rothschild giraffe and one young male reticulated giraffe. The zoo is breeding this endangered species according to the direction of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. Indeed, one female, Punk, is already pregnant and due this fall!

Giraffe News: Conservationists upgrade giraffe to “vulnerable” on endangered species list after 40 percent population loss.  


GIRAFFE HISTORY

GiraffeBridgeGiraffe have a storied history at the Abilene Zoo. Abilene received its first pair of young giraffe in 1968 thanks to an anonymous donation of $10,000. The mayor declared May 24, 1968, as “G-Day” and cut the ribbon on the “Highneck Bridge.” The community fell in love with the animals. Indeed, the bridge  was cutting-edge zoo design in its day — making Abilene one of the first zoos in the nation to let guests interact with the leggy animals.

GIRAFFE IN THE WILD

Giraffe Facts:

  • Giraffe sleep an average of 4.5 hours a day; either standing or lying down.
  • They can run up to 30 miles per hour for sustained periods; young calves less than 10 feet high can easily outrun adults.
  • The species name camelopardalis is Latin for “Camel Leopard,” animals that the giraffe was thought to resemble.

Conservation Status:

  • Recent research show that giraffe numbers have plummeted across Africa by more than 35 percent in the past two decades.
  • Giraffe habitat is degraded or destroyed by pastoralism, the clearing of land for agriculture and the uncontrolled harvesting of timber and fuel wood.
  • Human encroachment into giraffe habitat results in the fragmentation of that habitat and the isolation of giraffe populations. This in turn limits gene flow and the exchange of genetic diversity.
  • Giraffe have already gone extinct in seven countries.
  • These are the nine remaining sub-species of giraffe and their population numbers:
    • Angolan giraffe (<20,000)
    • Kordofan giraffe (<3,000)
    • Nubian giraffe (<650)
    • South African giraffe (<12,000)
    • West African giraffe (<300)
    • Reticulated giraffe* (<4,700)
    • Rothschild’s giraffe* (<1,100)
    • Thornicrofts’s giraffe (1,000)
    • Masai Giraffe (<37,000)
      *Abilene Zoo species
  • The giraffe at the Abilene Zoo are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plans, which cooperatively manages specific species populations within AZA-accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population. The Abilene Zoo also supports the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting all giraffe. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation combines the use of research, population management, and education to help protect giraffe and their populations.

Other African Animals in Giraffe Safari:

Aldabra Tortoises

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These omnivores live in the scrubs and grasslands of Africa and have lifespans of up to 150 years.  Aldabras are the second largest tortoise in the world – second only to the Galapagos tortoise. Interestingly, Charles Darwin had a hand in saving the species from extinction when he asked government officials to protect their breeding grounds.

Angolan Colobus Monkeys

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These monkeys live in the rainforests of Africa and are vulnerable because of diminishing habitat. Unlike other monkeys, Colobus do not have thumbs, but they manage to swing gracefully using four digits cupped in the shape of a hook. Our troupe likes to dine on vegetables and nap.

Red River Hogs

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Our colorful pair is a guest favorite! Red river hogs lives in the African rainforest, dining on berries, roots, and other plants, as well as small reptiles and insects. We have a male and female named Shooter and Amber.  When Shooter catches up in size to the female, the two will be a breeding pair.

Blue Duikers

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This petite member of the antelope family typically lives in the rainforests of central Africa, dining on fallen fruit, nuts, flowers and fungi. The smallest of these can weigh in at only 8 pounds, spending 75 percent of its day foraging for food.

Kori Bustards

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These large birds are thought to be the heaviest creature capable of taking flight, which they only do when in danger. Native to the grasslands of Africa, they are ground-dwellers that dine on insects and reptiles.

Marabu Storks

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The intriguing birds like to keep an eye on zoo guests. Their kinfolk live on the savannahs of Africa and are known for not being too picky about food. They’re scavengers that will eat anything. Their lifespan can be 25 to 40 years, and they mate for life.


MEET THE GIRAFFE

mananasi

Mananasi

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: Abilene Zoo, Sept. 10, 2016

The first birth in the new Giraffe Safari area was this little darling to proud parents Punk and Mesi — an AZA Species Survival Plan- approved breeding pair.

He was 120 pounds when born, and has grown to more than 300 pounds and is more than 7 feet tall.

His name means “pineapple” in Swahili. The tropical fruit was  animal staff’s code word on the radio for when his mom went into labor! He is Punk’s first calf, and her parenting has been fabulous!

He’s easy to spot — as the baby of the herd!

 

Asha

Asha

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: Tulsa Zoo on July 17, 1997
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: June 25, 1998

The senior lady of the herd, Abilene Zoo fans have admired Asha for nearly two decades — since she arrived here as a youngster.

How to Spot Her: She has the shortest tail and a long history of eating from guests’ hands. She is “aunting” little Kito.

Sunny

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: White Oak Conservation Center in Florida on June 10, 2009
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: Feb. 29, 2016

One of the newest to our herd, she arrived at the Abilene Zoo in 2016 after time at the Dallas Zoo.

How to Spot Her: She has the longest tail of all the females and has darker coloring.

Punk

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on Nov. 27, 1999
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: May 27, 2003

Zoo guests have gleefully handfed Punk rye crackers for many years. Now she gets a healthier diet! She is an approved animal to breed with Mesi.

How to Spot Her: She has a little notch in her left ear  and is caring for her new calf, which was born Sept. 10. It is her first time for being a mom, and she’s doing great! If she snorts at you, it’s because she is acting protective of her little one.

Jamie

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: Dallas Zoo on July 23, 2011
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: Feb. 29, 2016

Jamie is named after James Camden Sikes, a Dallas infant who died from a brain tumor. She is an approved animal to breed with Mesi.

How to Spot Her: Her face is darker and her spots are highly contrasted with bright white outlines.

Kito

Reticulated Giraffe

Born: Fossil Rim Wildlife Center on Dec. 27, 2015
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: Jan. 20, 2016

His name was chosen in a public naming contest and means “precious gem” in Swahili. He’s almost 7 feet tall and weighs roughly 250 pounds — and growing!

How to Spot Him: He’s smallest (for now!) of the giraffes.

Mesi

Rothschild Giraffe

Born: San Diego Zoo Safari Park on March 4, 2005
Arrived at the Abilene Zoo: Oct. 7, 2014

Mesi arrived at the Abilene Zoo in 2014 from the Little Rock Zoo. He weighs roughly 2700 pounds and is more than 18 feet tall!

How to Spot Him: He’s the tallest of the herd, and his coloring is much darker. He also loves to eat from Twiga Terrace!