Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – Zoo Knoxville’s baby giraffe has a name!
The 8-week-old girl has been officially christened “Big Girl Two”, and will be called “Bea.”
Her name was announced by President and CEO Lisa New at a special event for annual passholders and Circle of Friends members before the zoo opened to the public Saturday.
PHOTOS: Baby giraffe at Zoo Knoxville
The little giraffe was named by Natalie and Jim Haslam, and is a nod to Jim Haslam’s nickname for wife, whom he affectionately calls “Big Girl,” according to a news release from Zoo Knoxville.
Zoo Knoxville invited the Haslams to name the new baby because of their love of giraffes and their commitment to giraffe conservation at Zoo Knoxville over the years.
Bea is the first giraffe birth at Zoo Knoxville in 17 years. This is also the first offspring for four-year-old mom Frances and 16-year-old dad Jumbe.
The two were paired on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) working to save giraffes from extinction.
The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically and there are fewer than 100,000 giraffes left in Africa. They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat, according to the news release. With a recent 40% decrease in their populations, giraffes are now critically endangered.