A new giraffe greeting
Hi friends! My name is Katelyn, and I am on the Hoofstock Care Team here at Zoo Atlanta. If you have visited us before, you probably know the Zoo’s two male reticulated giraffes as Etana and Isooba. Surprise! Their names are actually Calvin (Etana) and Lennard (Isooba). Etana and Isooba were names given to them when they arrived at Zoo Atlanta, and they were used by the public teams. However, “Calvin” and “Lennard” were still the names used by their animal care professionals behind the scenes. Why am I telling you this now, you might ask? Zoo-wide, we are phasing out of using their Atlanta-given names and are using their birth names everywhere to eliminate any confusion. So next time you visit us, you might hear Education or Giraffe Care Team members calling them by different names. Don’t you fret! They’re the same giraffes we have all come to know and love.
Now that you’ve officially met, here are some fun facts and quirks about our boys. Calvin and Lennard are two half-brothers who were born in 2011 at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C. They then joined the Zoo Atlanta family in 2013. Personality-wise, Calvin and Lennard can have different moods, just as we can. They are both quite spunky. Our boys are also very curious and fairly interactive with their care team. Keepers and guests have both witnessed them very intently watching random objects or listening for noises in the distance. They can be especially nosey when we are hanging food or browse for them.
Speaking of hanging food, what’s the purpose of that? Wow! What a great question! Giraffe are known as “browsers.” This means they eat mainly vegetation at approximately six feet and higher. Because of this, the care team hangs most of their food to encourage that natural feeding behavior. In their diet is a mixture of grain, beet pulp, and an arrangement of produce. We also bundle browse, which is basically branches and twigs. Because Georgia has different vegetation than the African savanna, we have an amazing Horticulture Team that collects local tree species deemed safe for the giraffes to eat. They especially love elm, mulberry, and honeysuckle.
Well, that’s all for now, folks! Thanks for learning more about our tall friends. If you would like to learn more about Calvin and Lennard, or any of the Zoo’s hoofstock friends, make sure to stop by Twiga Terrace on your next visit to Zoo Atlanta. The Giraffe Care Team and Education Team are always happy to answer any questions you have or tell you more fun facts about them. We hope to see you soon!
Keeper I, Mammals