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Zoo Boise's Only Giraffe May Not Be Lonely For Long

Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio
Jabari waits for a new friend at Zoo Boise.

Zoo Boise is still reeling after the sudden loss of one of their two beloved giraffes, Julius Longfellow, in April. Since then, the zoo has been looking for a new companion for the remaining giraffe. Now it looks like they may have found one.

Zoo Director Steve Burns says they think Julius tore some muscles in his shoulder when he was bedding down to sleep. The next morning he couldn’t stand up and there was no other choice but to euthanize him. Burns said that was a hard decision to make.

“That took a toll on everybody here. The community was really sad to see him go. Everybody knew Julius, so we appreciated everybody’s thoughts and prayers and concerns, it helped,” says Burns.

Every day, zoo patrons paid a little extra to watch Julius snack on a special treat of lettuce. These giraffe feeding encounters raise money for the zoo’s conservation mission. Burns says Julius personally helped raise $200,000 for the conservation of animals in the wild.

After Julius was gone, Jabari, the other giraffe, was left alone at the zoo. When the time came to find a new giraffe, Burns says they tried to find a female, but none were available. So they found a two-year-old male giraffe from Milwaukee, named Tafari. According to the Milwaukee County Zoo, Tafari is a word from African origin that means “he who inspires awe.” Burns says they’re still working out the details of the transfer.

But transporting giraffes isn’t easy and the zoo is asking for help to raise the money to get him to Boise. It will cost $20,000 to transport Tafari in a special truck. Burns says people who want to help can donate Thursday to Zoo Boise as part of the online Idaho Gives Day effort.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio

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