Zoo Knoxville is excited to announce Frances giraffe gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Christmas Eve morning.


Frances and her new calf are being given time to bond in the barn with the zoo’s other female Lucille and father Jumbe.  The team of caretakers will be monitoring the calf closely to make sure it is getting enough nourishment and gaining strength.  Frances and the calf will be given access outside when temperatures are warm enough for the baby to be out safely.


This is the second giraffe birth at Zoo Knoxville in 18 years.  This is also the second offspring for Frances and Jumbe (pronounced JOOM-bay).  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.


“This is a happy note to end a challenging year on,” said Lisa New, President and CEO.  “We are very grateful for the outpouring of support for the Zoo and our mission to care for and protect these endangered animals.  Our entire community rallied behind us and all became zookeepers in 2020.  This little giraffe is a great testament to what your support made possible.”


The population of wild giraffes has declined dramatically over the last few years, and now there are fewer than 100,000 giraffe left in Africa.  They are threatened by habitat loss, competition with growing human populations and being hunted for bushmeat.   With a recent 40% decrease in their populations, giraffe are now critically endangered.  This calf will help ensure a healthy giraffe population for the future conservation of his species.