Disney World’s Animal Kingdom welcomed Willow, a one-year-old giraffe calf, on Tuesday, October 12, 2010!
Willow was transferred from the Virginia Zoo to Disney’s Animal Kingdom based on the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a national committee of experts who make recommendations for placement of specific animals to ensure high-quality genetic management for animal populations.
“It’s always a little bittersweet to send an animal born at our Zoo to its new home,” notes executive director Greg Bockheim. “Staff, myself and visitors become very attached to the young animals. We nurture them, so it’s sad to say goodbye. But the purpose of our breeding programs is to build strong, sustainable captive populations for the long range survivability of the species.”
At Animal Kingdom, Willow will join a herd of seven young Masai giraffe. This herd will eventually be released into the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride area, where they will form a new breeding nucleus for the species.