TORONTO, ON, Sunday, June 21, 2020: It’s World Giraffe Day and Your Toronto Zoo is excited to announce that #BabyLongLegs has a name! With over 20,000 people voting in the “Help Us Name #BabyLongLegs" promotion, one name has emerged as your favourite. Introducing, Amani Innis Dagg! Amani, meaning Peace in Swahili was chosen through online voting from a list of eight preselected names. Amani has also been given the esteemed last name of Innis Dagg to honour Canadian Zoologist, Anne Innis Dagg. Dagg is a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour in the wild, and is credited with being the first to study wild giraffes and making significant contributions to research in the field. She has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada and a documentary titled The Woman Who Loves Giraffes was made about her, which retraces her original steps back to Africa where her trail-blazing journey began more than 50 years ago.
The Toronto Zoo was excited to have wildlife champions come together to reveal the winning name during our daily Facebook Live segment at 1:00 pm. Joining our Wildlife Care Keepers at the Giraffe Habitat for the announcement were: Mr. Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo, Mr. Isaiah Koech, First Counsellor for the Kenyan High Commission in Canada and Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. The Toronto Zoo proudly collaborated with Mr. Sunir Chandaria, Honorary Consul of Kenya in Toronto, Mr. Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors and co-founder of Giants of Africa and Toronto Zoo Giraffe Keepers to develop the list of potential names for #BabyLongLegs.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for the overwhelming support of our “Help Us Name #BabyLongLegs” promotion,” said Dolf DeJong, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. “Amani is an important addition to a healthy and viable population as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Masai giraffe Species Survival Plan. We are very proud that Amani will be an ambassador for Masai giraffes, educating the public on the challenges this species is facing in the wild so we can address the threats they face and halt declining populations,” he added.
“I am thrilled to have the baby named after me and so excited. Every night when I go to sleep, I will wonder what my new little girl will be doing. It means so much to me that the Toronto zoo would be so kind,” Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, Canadian Zoologist.
“Kenya is delighted to partner with the Toronto Zoo during World Giraffe Day and in particular in the naming of BabyLongLegs who now has the name Amani meaning “Peace” in Swahili. This is the start of a long-term collaborative partnership in which we will work towards bringing the people of our two countries together to conserve wildlife, promote tourism and create awareness,” said Mr. Isaiah Koech, First Counsellor, Kenya High Commission in Ottawa.
The Toronto Zoo supports field conservation efforts for this species in Africa through the Wild Nature Institute Masai Giraffe Conservation Program and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation's work in mitigating human-giraffe conflict in the Masai Mara in Kenya. In addition, the Zoo is committing to work with the AZA’s Giraffe SAFE Program by supporting nine on the ground projects in Tanzania and Kenya.
In the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Your Toronto Zoo welcomed a healthy female Masai giraffe calf. This is the first offspring for both mother Mstari, a six-year-old female born at the Toronto Zoo, and father Kiko, a seven-year-old male who came to Toronto Zoo from Greenville Zoo in South Carolina in 2015. The pairing of Kiko and Mstari was at the recommendation of the AZA Masai giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program among accredited zoos. Both mom and calf are doing well and Wildlife Care Keepers continue to monitor Mstari and calf closely to ensure she continues to nurse from Mstari regularly.
To celebrate this exciting new addition, the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy has launched a new campaign to raise $70,000 to support the growing giraffe family. The Room to Grow Campaign will support many different aspects and modifications including:
Follow us on social media for updates on #BabyLongLegs!
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