Meet Philadelphia Zoo’s new baby giraffe- Bea!

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events

Philadelphia Zoo is thrilled to welcome a new addition to its family, Bea, a 15-month-old female giraffe, that arrived on November 20th from Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.  Since her arrival, Bea has been getting adjusted to her new keepers and met her new herd mates 18-year-old, Stella and 11-year-old Abigail. All are settling in well, and keepers are giving Bea her own space overnight which offers some independence and quiet time.  

There are a number of intricate plans that go into transporting a giraffe. In the weeks leading up to the move, Philadelphia Zoo staff worked closely with the team at Knoxville Zoo to ensure a safe trip for the youngster.  Plans included training Bea to get safely into trailer, creating contingency plans, and finding an experienced professional animal transporter.  “I am happy to say the overall transition has been smooth,” says Donna Evernham, Curator of Carnivores & Ungulates.  The journey was successful and the new trio are doing great. Bea’s calm demeanor has made bonding with Stella and Abby easy. “We are very excited to have a young giraffe at Philadelphia Zoo,” says Evernham.

*On cooler temperature days, typically under 50 degrees, our giraffe herd have access to their outdoor area and can decide on their own to stay inside or go outside.

Considered the tallest land animals in the world, male giraffes can reach up to 18- feet- tall and weigh close to 3,000 lbs., while a female can grow to 15-feet- tall and weigh around 1,500 lbs. Currently Bea stands at around 8-foot-tall and weighs over 1,000lbs. Listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with scientists estimating there are fewer than 100,000 surviving in the wild, giraffe are affected by poaching and habitat destruction, with populations decreasing more than 40% over the last three decades.

Beau, the young male giraffe born at Philadelphia Zoo in June 2018, moved to the Cape May Zoo in fall of 2019. Working with the Giraffe Species Survival Program and understanding each Zoo’s particular needs, Philadelphia Zoo worked with Cape May Zoo to coordinate the breeding and eventual move of the young giraffe. Today, Beau is doing great and living with a larger herd in Cape May Zoo in New Jersey.

Last year, our male giraffe Gus was selected by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan for breeding at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, an off-exhibit conservation center managed by the Audubon Nature Institute.  On November 5th, Gus embarked on his journey to Louisiana, and while Philadelphia Zoo was sad to see him leave, the Zoo was very excited that he moved to a 42-acre giraffe area to live among a herd of eight females.  This significant move will help ensure that his genetics add to the population of reticulated giraffes for years to come.

There are a number of intricate plans that go into effect when moving a 21-foot tall giraffe. To start, the animal care and facilities teams began planning his move as soon as it was confirmed, more than a year ago, to ensure that his trip to New Orleans was safe and comfortable.

Plans included:
-Finding an experienced professional animal transporter with the best trailer to accommodate a passenger the size of Gus.
-Executing many renovations, training goals and contingency plans to ensure Gus felt comfortable leading up to his move.
-Acclimating Gus to an outdoor space that is connected to the giraffe barn by offering treats (which he loves!), browse and attention to boost his confidence in entering this “walkway” that he used to walk into the transport trailer.

The Move:
On November 5th, Gus set out for his destination in New Orleans. On that day, approximately 20 animal care and facilities staff members were assigned to various jobs including opening and closing doors at the exact right time, assessing Gus’ overall stress levels and well-being, providing food and treats to help encourage him along his walkways, and be ready for any challenges that may arise.

Once Gus was safely secure in his trailer, a team of professional animal transporters began the trip, only stopping for refueling. During the travel, Gus was monitored by the drivers through the use of remote cameras and had plenty of food and water in his climate controlled moving stall. Upon his arrival, Gus joined a new herd at his new 42-acre home!

For more about the giraffes at Philadelphia Zoo, visit:
For information on how to support the Zoo and “adopt” one the Giraffes (including Bea) for $50 or $75 please visit:

With over 2,500 mouths to feed, the Zoo’s annual grocery bill is over $500,000— adoption purchases helps the Zoo buy monkey chow, trout, honey, mealworms, and much more!  

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