FROM ZOO TO YOU Celebrating the zoo’s animal dads on Father's Day

By Julianne Turner

This Sunday, the Lee Richardson Zoo will be celebrating Father’s Day alongside another very special day: World Giraffe Day! There will be different activities and stations throughout the day, and you can try to find all of our animal dads as you explore the zoo!

We have three giraffes that call our zoo home. Jasiri is the youngest, born just last year. Cleo is the adult female, mother of Jasiri. And Juani is the adult male, who gets to celebrate Father’s Day with us as Dad to Jasiri! One way you can tell Juani apart from the others is that he is the tallest giraffe of the three.

World Giraffe Day is recognized annually on June 21, the longest day of the year. This day is set aside to celebrate and learn about giraffes. There are four distinct species of giraffe in Africa, and these can be split into seven subspecies based on the areas where they live and slight genetic variations. Here at the zoo, we have reticulated giraffes.

Over the last 30 years, the number of giraffes in the wild has dropped by almost 40%, and as an entire group, they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This is part of the reason why we are so excited to be able to celebrate Father’s Day with Juani. By becoming a dad he is helping the survival of his species for the future! To celebrate World Giraffe Day with us, stop by the giraffe habitat between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. this Sunday to see a Discovery Cart and Keeper Chat all about the tallest species in the world!

Along with Juani, there are many other animal dads here at the zoo! You might see Razi the lion lounging in his yard. He is the father of Lulu, who still lives here, and four other males who now call the Denver Zoo their home.

We also have a new dad here at the zoo! On June 2, we welcomed a baby red ruffed lemur to the world, bringing our troop size up to four! There are now two adult males, Frank and Bogey, one adult female, Sorsha, and the one male juvenile. While Bogie is the father, both males will likely spend time with the young one as it grows up. You can wish both Frank and Bogey a very happy first Father’s Day by visiting their habitat between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, where we will have a Discovery Cart set up so you can learn more about this amazing species.

We hope you join us on Sunday, June 20 for a day full of fun! We will have animal dads around the zoo marked with bowties on their habitats so you can wish them all a Happy Father’s Day. There will also be Discovery Carts by the giraffes 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and the lemurs 2 p.m.-4 p.m., and a giraffe Keeper Chat around 10:30 a.m. for you to enjoy.

We wish you all a very Happy Father’s Day and hope to see you at the zoo this weekend!

Julianne Turner is a guest engagement coordinator at Lee Richardson Zoo.