On Oct. 30th, 2019 Memphis Zoo officials have announced the sad news that its oldest giraffe has died at the age of 26. Marilyn was a favorite of zoo visitors; she gave birth to six calves.
Zoo officials said in the post that the giraffe's "strong maternal instincts and experience made her a regular 'auntie' and 'midwife'" for other new mothers and young giraffes in the herd.
I’d like to celebrate her life! So, I built a photo gallery here of some of my pictures of Marilyn, her babies and some of the other giraffes. As a photojournalist in Memphis, I photographed Marilyn often and also many of her babies at one time or another over the years. Watching and photographing giraffes is one of my favorite pastimes.
Reticulated giraffes are endangered, but Marilyn did her share to reproduce this beautiful creature. The Memphis Zoo’s breeding program has been very successful. For several years here in Memphis, we’ve enjoyed baby giraffes each spring. The gestational period of a giraffe is over a year and their babies are usually born at about six feet in height.
Reticulated giraffes are native to Somalia but they are also found in Northern Kenya. It is estimated that there are less than 9,000 Reticulated Giraffes left in the wild.
The first video below is of Marilyn and her baby. I made other short videos of the giraffe’s at the Memphis zoo and I will share them here too because giraffes, especially baby giraffes, are such a joy to watch.
Thanks for the memories.