Bouncing baby boy Ezaji is the new addition to the giraffe herd at the Indianapolis Zoo. His arrival is cause for much celebration in Indy, as he is the second calf born at the Indianapolis Zoo in the past five months. According to zoo keepers, Ezaji is the largest giraffe born at the zoo in recent Indianapolis history. This 6’6” giraffe arrived on December 30, 2009, weighing in at a whopping 170 lbs. In the next 25 years, Ezaji will grow up to 17 feet tall and will learn to run more than 30 miles per hour.
“Eza” means “king” and “ji” means “yam,” so the name Ezaji literally translates to “King of Yams.” This name is a great honor because of the sacred value of the yam in Nigeria and Ghana, where the yam is the king of crops. The natural habitat for giraffes is in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert in open woodlands and wooded grassland areas. The unique exhibit at the Indianapolis Zoo allows Hoosiers to experience Sub-Saharan Africa right in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.
|Doing Indy video about the Indianapolis Zoo in Indianapolis, Indiana|
Baby Ezaji’s arrival was long awaited by zoo personnel, because the gestation period for giraffes is approximately 15 months. In August, the zoo welcomed another calf named Juani. Although they’re just a few months apart, Juani is Ezaji’s uncle. There are now six giraffes living in the Circle City, including Eddie, Elena, Takasa, AJ, Juani and Ezaji.
Ezaji and his proud parents Eddie and Elena are currently residing in the Plains Barn, because this Indiana winter is not fit for a king. The happy family will remain behind closed doors until warmer weather comes. In the spring, all of the plains animals will come out to play. The Indianapolis Zoo offers several interactive experiences with the animals, including a picnic with the giraffes where visitors can feed the animals from their own hands. Other interactive activities at the zoo include the shark petting exhibit, elephant bathing and the opportunity to become a junior dolphin trainer.
For more information on the Indianapolis Zoo, please visit the zoo’s homepage.
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