DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Bakari, the Blank Park Zoo’s baby giraffe, is making his public debut Tuesday.
Visitors to the zoo will be able to see Bakari along with his mother and aunt. Bakari was born only a month ago and was named last week.
Kayla Freeman, the Large Mammal Supervisor at the Blank Park Zoo, has been with Bakari since he was born. Freeman said that since giraffes are endangered in the wild, giraffe births in captivity are important to make sure they don’t go extinct.
“It’s so important to keep adding to the population bringing awareness to the giraffes in the wild and the habitat loss they’re experiencing,” Freeman said.
When Bakari was born he was 5 feet 5 inches and 107 pounds. Three weeks later he was 5 feet 10 inches and 130 pounds. Bakari is expected to double in size during his first year of life.
During the winter Bakari will spend most of his time indoors in the Blank Park Zoo’s giraffe barn.
An important part of Bakari’s development is providing enrichment for him. One of the main ways the zoo does that is by giving him browse. Browse is what giraffes normally eat in the wild and is branches with leaves.
Freeman said the Blank Park Zoo sources some of their browse for giraffes from the Des Moines area.
“On our website, you can search out browse program,” Freeman said, “we have different volunteers on site that bring browse from their properties and we have a list of what’s approved and we also partner with our local communities.”.
To learn more about the giraffes at the Blank Park Zoo visit their website.