Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Tulsa Zoo has replaced the two female giraffes which died in the last two years. Now they've got a herd of three - and hope for more, soon.
The public will get a better view of the new giraffes than ever before. These two giraffes are another try at building a breeding herd at the Tulsa zoo.
The smaller giraffe is "Pili," and she's a 2-year-old from Wichita. The larger is "Lexi" - a 4-year-old from Springfield, Missouri, who is already old enough to breed.
"Giraffe are not critically endangered, but it's like a lot of animals at the zoo, having a population that is sustainable in captivity is an important part of that backup plan," said Dr. Kay Backues, Tulsa Zoo veterinarian.
The Zoo's other giraffe - a 19-year-old male named Sam - is for now kept separate as the new additions become accustomed to him and their new surroundings. The new giraffes will be in and out of public view while they acclimate over the next month.
About the time the new female giraffes are ready for public display, the public will have a new way to see them. A new deck will give the public an eye to eye view of the largest giraffe here.
This is that view - and eventually the public will be able to hand feed giraffes under the supervision of zoo keepers.
It's called the Giraffe Experience.
"Whenever you come up to the giraffe experience, it puts you eye to eye with the giraffes and it's awesome because you can see how long their eyelashes are and how long their tongue is," said Angela Evans, Tulsa Zoo.
The new females arrived with no issues during the trip - and will stay in a fully renovated barn so they'll be protected from harsh weather. Transportation and weather played a role in the death of the last two.
But now - the zoo is looking forward to a restarting their breeding program - and giving the public the most up close view imaginable.
The new giraffes are expected to be on display full time next month.