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A freshly born spotless giraffe might be the only one in the world

A giraffe was born without spots at Brights Zoo in Tennessee.
A giraffe was born without spots at Brights Zoo in Tennessee. Courtesy / Brights Zoo

A spotless giraffe recently born at a Tennessee zoo is so rare it’s thought to be the only one of its kind in the world.

The female giraffe, born on July 31, is a sight to behold – instead of sporting the distinctive patched pattern of normal giraffes, she is singularly coloured in a medium tan and more closely resembles a horse than a giraffe.

Born at the Brights Zoo, a private, family-run facility in Limestone, Tenn., the so-far nameless baby is the first spotless giraffe on record since a solid-coloured giraffe was born in Tokyo in 1972.

She already stands six feet tall and is walking on her own and thriving under her mother’s care, according to ABC News.

The spotless baby giraffe, who is yet to be named, looks very different from her spotted mother.
The spotless baby giraffe, who is yet to be named, looks very different from her spotted mother. Courtesy / Brights Zoo

The zoo’s owner says he hopes the attention on the unusual giraffe will bring more awareness to the plight of the Earth’s giraffe population.

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“The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation,” Tony Bright told ABC.

“Wild populations are silently slipping into extinction, with 40 per cent of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last three decades.”

The mottled appearance of giraffes primarily serves as a form of camouflage in the wild, but the skin under their spots also has a special system of blood vessels that allows the animals to regulate their body temperature by releasing heat through their patches. Each giraffe’s spots are unique.

The zoo is now looking for help in naming the unique animal, announcing a contest on Facebook where people are encouraged to vote for their favourite moniker.

For the naming contest, the zoo has narrowed it down to four names and their meanings:

  • Kipekee – Unique
  • Firyali – Unusual or extraordinary
  • Shakiri – She is most beautiful
  • Jamella – One of great beauty
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