Escondido San Diego Zoo Global
Zahara bonds with her mum. Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo has a new baby giraffe and now we know what to call her.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley on Sunday revealed the name of the calf, born last month.

Drumroll, please! And her name is … Zahara.

Zoo officials determined the baby’s moniker after a week-long online poll of more than 18,000 voters.

The name has Arabic origins. The other finalist? Zeena.

Zahara was born to first-time mom Zawadi on April 4.

Visitors to the zoo and Safari Park websites can watch Zahara on the Giraffe Cam. Both venues are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This calf is normally so very calm and collected,” said Matt Galvin, lead wildlife care specialist at the Safari Park. “Not much bothers her. She is usually content to nap in the shade while the adults browse nearby, but we’ve noticed on occasion, she does get overly excited and zooms through the savanna.”

It’s estimated by scientists that there are fewer than 100,000 giraffes left in their native habitats, a decrease of more than 40% over the last 20 years.

The numbers alarm conservationists. The International Union for Conservation of Nature changed giraffes’ overall status to Vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species. They list some subspecies as Endangered or Critically Endangered.

“Despite the grim status of giraffes overall, we are seeing signs of hope with a few giraffe populations, leading us to believe our efforts are indeed working,” said David O’Connor, a Zoo Global researcher.

– City News Service