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San Diego Zoo Safari Park announces winning name of giraffe calf

The winning name of the female calf -- after a week-long online poll of more than 18,000 voters -- is Zahara. She was born April 4 to first-time mom Zawadi.
Credit: Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo Global

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the San Pasqual Valley on Sunday announced the name of a giraffe calf born April 4.

The winning name of the female calf -- after a week-long online poll of more than 18,000 voters -- is Zahara, San Diego Zoo Global officials said. The name is derived from Arabic origins. The other name voters could have chosen in the poll was Zeena.

Zahara was born to first-time mom Zawadi.

Although the Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park are temporarily closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, visitors to the zoo and Safari Park websites -- sandiegozoo.org and sdzsafaripark.org -- can watch Zahara on Giraffe Cam as she explores her home.

"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, researchers said.

"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, researcher for San Diego Zoo Global. 

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