Hand Feed an Endangered Species at the Chattanooga Zoo

Attractions, Stories

Written by Camille Platt

At the Chattanooga Zoo, guests are welcome to help feed the giraffes at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The three males–named George, Porter, and Hardee Star–arrived at the Makazi Ya Twiga exhibit in 2020. They formerly lived together as a herd at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Today their home is Phase I of the Chattanooga Zoo’s African Expansion, made up of a giraffe barn and a 4,000-square-foot outdoor yard. This means that if it’s raining, cold, or the giraffes simply aren’t outdoors during your visit, you can still view them from a platform in the indoor day yard. Tickets for the giraffe feeding experience include lettuce or another treat provided by zoo staff.

A subspecies of giraffe native to the horn of Africa, George, Porter, and Hardee Star are reticulated giraffes, an endangered species threatened by habitat deconstruction and poaching specific to northern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. With just over 15,000 remaining in the wild, the Chattanooga Zoo’s efforts are a part of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan breeding program committed to the survival of the species.

A 14-acre property, the Chattanooga Zoo’s additional exhibits include:

  • Deserts & Forests: komodo dragon, meerkat, fennec fox, reptiles, and amphibians
  • Corcovado Jungle: jaguar, giant anteater, and other animals from the Amazon rainforest
  • Walkin’ the Tracks: cougar, deer, coyote, and prairie dog
  • Gombe Forest: chimpanzee, black crested mangabey, Kihansi spray toad
  • Himalayan Passage: red panda, snow leopard, gibbon, Bali mynah
  • Warner Park Ranch: dromedary camel, alpaca, highland cattle, and a petting zoo

Want to preview more exhibits before your visit? Check out the zoo’s webcam video streaming of the meerkat, snow leopard, tamarin, and spotted genet at www.chattzoo.org.










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