Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes New Giraffe
The Jacksonville Zoo's new male giraffe, AJ, made his public debut earlier this month, exactly two years after the loss of the zoo's beloved male giraffe, Duke.
Twelve-year-old AJ came from the El Paso Zoo but was born in Disney's Animal Kingdom. He is expected to take over Duke's breeding duties. Duke helped birth 18 offspring while in Jacksonville. Duke was humanely euthanized at the age of 21 on December 11, 2018.
“It’s pure coincidence that AJ’s debut fell on the same day as Duke’s passing, but it’s a lovely tribute to Duke’s sizable legacy," said Deputy Zoo Director Dan Maloney. "AJ certainly has some big hooves to fill, but all early behavioral indications lead us to believe he’s up to the task.”
AJ stands about 16.5 feet tall and weighs 2,900 pounds. He is the biggest giraffe to ever live at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
This is AJ's first time being housed with females as an adult. His herd in El Paso was all male.
"AJ is adjusting well to his new keepers and the other giraffes in the herd," said Assistant Curator of Mammals Corey Neatrour. "We all still miss Duke, yet we are also confident AJ will become another guest favorite with his prominent size and calm disposition.”
Guests can view AJ at the Giraffe Overlook. Giraffe feedings are available daily with Total Experience tickets, which must be purchased online in advance at JacksonvilleZoo.org/Visit.