A rare spotless giraffe has been born in a Tennessee zoo

August 25, 2023

A female reticulated giraffe was born at Brights Zoo in northeastern Tennessee on July 31; but, unlike her mother, she was born without any spots—a rarity, reports NPR.

Standing 14 to 15 feet tall, giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world. When mothers give birth, the calves already are 6 feet tall; and, other than on especially rare occasions, they’re born covered from hoof to horn in brown spots. Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee, announced that it welcomed the birth of a reticulated giraffe without any spots, WJHL 11 News reported.

“Giraffe experts believe she is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet,” the zoo told WJHL.

The director of the family-owned zoo, David Bright, said zoo staff have been reaching out to zoo professionals across the country inquiring about how rare the giraffe could be. So far, zoo officials say the only record of a reticulated giraffe being born without spots was in Japan in the 1970s.

Pictures of the calf can be seen on the Brights Zoo Facebook page, standing next to her mother in stark contrast without her spots.

The zoo is asking the public to help name the newborn by voting on one of four names available on the zoo’s Facebook page by Labor Day, September 4.: 1. Kipekee (which means Unique); 2. Firyali (Unusual or extraordinary); 3. Shakiri (She is most beautiful); or 4. Jamella (One of great beauty).

Research contact: @NPR