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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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World Giraffe Day at Aggieland Safari

Photo courtesy of Aggieland Safari

Aggieland Safari welcomes one-year-old female giraffe Mala for World Giraffe Day. 

World Giraffe Day is an event held by Aggieland Safari to fundraise to support the Global Conservation Force, a non-profit organization that helps to protect wildlife through anti-poaching and habitat conservation.

Aggieland Safari offers a 45-minute drive-through safari across 350 acres of pasture and options for up-close interactions such as their animal encounters and walk-through zoo.

Guests supported the conservation efforts on World Giraffe Day through raffles with giraffe-themed items, a silent auction with art donated by local painters and Crafts with Giraffes.

Head of Education at Aggieland Safari Zachary Perez helped to organize the event which was aimed at raising money for giraffe conservation and education.

“We’ve lost about 45 percent of the [giraffe] population to poaching in the last 15 years, which is so much and now giraffes are considered endangered,” Perez said.

Although the giraffe population has decreased, Perez said that Global Conservation Force is working on the front lines to stop poaching and other threats that giraffes face.

“Not only [does Global Conservation Force] do protection, but they do research,” Perez said “So they’re tracking giraffes, tranquilizing them and putting trackers on them, cleaning their hooves, doing all things to help benefit giraffes.”

World Giraffe Day was first started in 2022 and the Aggieland Safari staff expanded the event even more this year, with their main focus being education and the protection of giraffes.

“It’s always the most amazing part to engage with the guests and tell them about this poaching world and bring light to some of these issues that you don’t really hear about in Bryan, Texas,” Perez said.

A new one-year-old female reticulated giraffe named Mala was brought to Aggieland Safari the day before they held their World Giraffe Day. Zookeeper Lily Olson said Aggieland Safari is excited to welcome the new baby giraffe.

“It excites me because I know we used to have two giraffes,” Olson said. “Sadly, the other passed away, so we just had our adult George.”

Olsen said having Mala at Aggieland Safari is important because of the bonds she has made with other giraffes.

“[George and Mala] are just like besties already, it’s absolutely adorable,” Olson said.

Children participated in conservation efforts during the Crafts with Giraffes activity where they made letters to send to wildlife conservationists in South Africa.

“We’re doing Crafts with Giraffes where kiddos color a picture of a giraffe, and on the back of that picture they’re encouraged to write a letter to the rangers in Africa saving these animals,” Perez said.

Zookeepers also held Giraffe Talks every hour, where they educated guests about giraffes and gave opportunities for guests to get free giraffe encounters.

Frequent safari visitor Brielle Mason purchased one of the $25 encounters with George the Giraffe, where she was brought in by Perez to meet the giraffe. Mason said that she decided to visit the World Giraffe Day event to feed the giraffes and learn more about giraffe conservation efforts.

“We did the encounter, and I got kissed by the giraffe,” Mason said.

Aggieland Safari visitor Michael Neff said World Giraffe Day was a great way to educate people about the threats that endangered species, like giraffes, are facing.

“Learning something by seeing it I think is a much better way to get people excited and enthusiastic about the cause behind it,” Neff said.

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Nadia Abusaid
Nadia Abusaid, Life & Arts Writer
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