A baby Masai Giraffe at the Phoenix Zoo now has a name! The female calf was named Rafiki after nearly 16,000 people participated in an online naming poll.
Rafiki was born on June 26 to mom Imara and dad Miguu. Under Imara’s attentive care, the calf is healthy and strong. The name Rafiki is a Swahili word meaning ‘friend.’
Photo Credit: Phoenix Zoo
The staff is gradually introducing Rafiki to other members of the zoo’s Giraffe herd. For now, Rafiki and Imara spend most of their time behind the scenes in the Giraffe barn, but they’ll soon be moving onto the savanna habitat.
Seven-year-old Imara arrived at the Phoenix Zoo in 2012 as recommended by the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan to breed with nine-year-old male Miguu. He came to Phoenix in 2010 from the Los Angeles Zoo.
Masai Giraffes are one of four species and five subspecies of Giraffes, all found in Africa. Only about 100,000 individuals are estimated to remain in the wild across the continent. Habitat loss, which occurs as wild places are degraded or converted for human use, is the main factor influencing Giraffes’ decline. The species as a whole is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
See more photos of Rafiki below!