The Greenville Zoo will bid farewell to its 2-year-old Masai giraffe, Kiko, who will be leaving in mid-May for his new home at the Toronto Zoo in Canada. Kiko will join two female giraffes with the hope that they will breed and produce offspring.
“Having to say goodbye to Kiko is going to be especially difficult for the Greenville Zoo staff and Upstate community,” said Greenville Zoo Director Jeff Bullock. “We followed Kiko through every milestone of his life, from watching him take his first steps to seeing him develop into an active and curious young giraffe. He will always be a part of the Greenville Zoo family, and we look forward to following the next journey of his life as he begins a new family in Toronto.”
The move to the Toronto Zoo was recommended by a Species Survival Program (SSP) of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The SSP develops long-term research and management strategies for the species. One of the most important roles of the SSP is to ensure that all giraffes are managed in a way that preserves the best possible genetic diversity.
Viewers worldwide watched the birth of Kiko on October 22 on the zoo’s GiraffeCam. Kiko was the first baby for Autumn, 9-year-old female Masai giraffe, and Walter, 9-year-old male. Autumn was born at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Walter is from the San Diego Zoo. Both animals arrived in Greenville in July 2007 as part of a three-way loan agreement. The zoo will hold a farewell celebration for Kiko on May 16 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. near the Giraffe Exhibit.