NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The giraffe exhibit at the Nashville Zoo has always been one of the most popular places for people to visit. It’s sort of the zoo’s signature animal. And they’ve added a new youngster to the group.
“His name is Rowan, and he’s a male,” explained Nikole Edmunds, Nashville Zoo Lead Hoofstock Keeper. “So, now we have five giraffes, four females, and one male. Rowan is the youngest. He just turned two in August, and he showed up here on Halloween. So we just kind of put them out. He has to go through a quarantine process. A new animal that comes to the zoo has to go through a quarantine process, and they just cleared quarantine last week. And so, the giraffes are out. As you can see them running behind me. They are loving the sunshine while it’s still warm enough for them right now.”
So is the temperature a big obstacle for them during the winter?
“It is. It’s a big obstacle.” Edmunds said. “So, it does not get as cold in Africa where they’re from as it does here. So, the general temperature guideline is 40° and sunny, 45° and cloudy, 50° and rainy. If it is those temperatures, then they should be out. There are always exceptions. Obviously bad weather if we have bad thunderstorms, regardless of the temperature, or obviously tornadoes or anything like that, they’ll also be inside for those.”
Since young Rowan is the only male, how are the four girls taking to him?
“Really well,” Edmunds said. “He is still really young. So, they definitely don’t treat him as a male they just treat him as another member of their “tower”, which is the term for a group of giraffes. So I think they associate him as just another kid and we actually have a really young group here. Of the five we’ve got a seven-year-old four-year-old a three-year-old and two two-year-olds. So, they’re all very, very young. But they acclimated to him instantly.”
So will Rowan one day be the man of the house with all these females?
“Yes, so there will be one dominant male over the group of females,” Edmunds explained. “We won’t keep other males. So, he will breed with all four of these females once he comes of age. He’s a little too young for that. We’ve got quite a few years before he matures enough. So. that will be a while.”
So, how big an attraction are the giraffes for visitors to the zoo?
Oh, it’s one of the…I feel like it’s one of the exhibits that draws people to the zoo,” exclaimed Edmunds. “It’s our logo. I’m not wearing my shirt. But it’s our logo. So, everybody sees that and knows that we have them and they come here to see them. We’ve got a beautiful exhibit here. Guests can’t come up this close, but we come up here for keeper talks. And usually, the giraffes will come right over and we can feed them. They’re being a little shy. They just came out. It just warmed up enough for them right now. It’s a great view. They do come up really close.”
And they like to have a little fun, as well!
“Now that we have a bigger group, it’s really fun to see them running around ad enjoying their exhibit, instead of just kind of hanging out,” Edmunds said. “So, that’s fun. And if one goes, they usually get each other worked up and they’ll all start running a little bit. So, that’s a lot of fun.”
So check out the tallest of all land mammals at the Nashville Zoo. At 19 feet tall, you really can’t miss them!