Ayo, Baby Giraffe, Palm Desert Living Museum

Ayo, Baby Giraffe, Palm Desert Living Museum

Ayo,  Baby Giraffe, Palm Desert Living Museum — Officials at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens announced in July 2016 that a 7-week-old baby giraffe finally has a name: “Ayo.”

The name, which means “happiness” or “joy” in the Nigerian language of Yoruba, was selected by the zoo’s director of trains, Joe Schneider, who won an internal contest that generated more than 50 entries from park staff and volunteers.
“Ayo is a perfect name for this baby giraffe,” said Allen Monroe, the zoo’s president and CEO. “He exudes happiness and brings smiles to everyone who sees him.”  Ayo was born July 3 to mother “Tuli,” after a 15-month gestation.

Newborn giraffes typically nurse from their mothers for nine to 12 months.  They begin eating foliage in about four months. Giraffes are tan with white markings.  Their long eyelashes and closable nostrils protect against blowing sand.  Long necks allow them to reach food high up in the trees.  Their tongues can be up to 18” long, which helps to grasp leaves.  While their upper lip acts like a finger to pull on branches. They eat shoots, leaves, fruits, bark and seedpods.  But their favorite is the acacia tree, which contains almost all of the nutrients they need, except salt and calcium, and can contain up to 74% water. They can consume up to 75 pounds of food in 24 hours and can go a long time without drinking water when eating acacia leaves.

Male ranges are fairly stable, but female ranges less so, though they usually return to the same calving areas each year. A female can bear her first calf at 5 years of age. Gestation is approximately 15 months and only one calf is born which will be nursed for 9-10 months.The local zoo is home to four male and two female giraffes, which are all on exhibit during normal park hours.

Fewer than 80,000 giraffes exist in the wild, zoo officials said.  For more information please visit