The unexpected death of our baby giraffe has been difficult for our staff to bear. We had been anxiously waiting 14 months for Valerie to give birth and watched her change physically as she carried the baby to term. We were absolutely thrilled when the baby was born and our hearts soared as Mom and the other giraffes, Benta and Melmeck, bonded with and cared for the young one. Watching the little guy be introduced to the world and seeing him look out from his lodging with shy wonder at his surroundings and the guests who came by to see him filled us all with the optimism and hope for the future that accompanies any birth, human or animal. To have him die so suddenly and with no previous signs of distress, shocked everyone.
It is impossible to care for animals day after day and not develop a serious bond with them. Zoo keepers see their animals every day, they feed them and provide water, clean their living areas, dispense medical care, and provide enrichments to entertain them. These animals are family. We watch them be born and reared, we see them mature and have their own children, and watch them in their twilight years as they grow old gracefully. When we lose one, it affects us all.
As any person that has a pet dog, cat, or bird knows, animals have distinct personalities and wild animals are no exception. Interacting with the animals daily, we know the friendly ones, and those that are curious, shy, or grumpy. We know who the good parents are and those that could use some improvement. We see the protectors who carefully guard the weak and young members of the group and the animals that prefer privacy and solitude. These family groups remind us every day that character is not just a human trait.
The staff members at Brights Zoo are very grateful for the enormous outpouring of sympathy and support we have received. It warms our heart to know that guests who visited our facility and well-wishers, who simply follow the goings on at the zoo, share our love and concern for the animals. Thank you all!
Giraffe Baby Naming Contest
Valerie delivered a baby boy on Thursday, August 7th. Brights Zoo is holding a naming contest on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BrightsZoo) to give him a name. To participate, sign in to Facebook, share the status of the August 8th baby checkup, comment on the status and then add the name you want for the giraffe baby.
August 24th is the deadline for entry. The winner will be announced on August 25th and will receive two free tickets and a giraffe prize basket!
What to Expect When You're Expecting a Baby Giraffe
Valerie, one of our Reticulated Giraffes, will be delivering a baby any day now. We thought it would be fun to share some facts about what to expect when you are a new giraffe mother.
First, the gestation period for a giraffe is about 14 to 15 months (400-460 days). When Valerie's baby arrives, it should be about 6 feet tall and will weigh between 100 to 150 pounds.
Valerie will give birth standing up and the calf (baby giraffes are called calves), will emerge head and front legs first. The calf will drop approximately 6 feet to the ground - bursting the embryonic sack and severing the umbilical cord. Valerie will then spend some time nosing and licking the newborn in order to memorize its scent.
A newborn calf will usually stand within 5-15 minutes of birth, can walk within an hour, and is capable of running after only a few more hours. The horn-like bumps of cartilage on a giraffe's head are called ossicones; they lay flat in the womb, but will stand up within a few days. In the wild, the newborn would spend most of the first one to three weeks of his or her life hiding – its coat pattern providing camouflage.
Valerie's calf will begin to suckle within an hour after being born and will typically suckle for six months to a year. However, the calf will start sampling plants just a few weeks after birth. In the wild, less than 50% of all baby giraffes survive the first year of life, because of predators such as hyenas, leopards, and wild dogs. Later in life, their main predators are lions and humans.
The staff here at Brights Zoo are quite excited for Valerie and can't wait to meet her new calf. We'll be sure to announce when the baby is born and post some photos of mother and calf.
"WILD SAFARI FUN"
Featuring Three One-Day Camps
Campers will learn how we impact animals across the world and meet some of the Zoo's own endangered animals.
Participants will learn what we can do to help conserve these species. Kids will participate in a variety of fun activities designed to enhance understanding about how mankind can create positive change for the benefit of all.
Learn while making fun memories at the Zoo!
Temperatures play a big part on what animals are on exhibit on a particular day. On days when the temperature does not reach 50 degrees, several animals must remain in heated areas and cannot be displayed, and on these days no animal feedings will be offered. On those days Brights Zoo will offer a 25% discount on general admission tickets.
Tortoises will only be out if temperatures reach 80 degrees.
If raining, please call 423-257-1927 or check Facebook before coming out to the zoo. The zoo will close on bad weather days.
See the "Downloads" section to the lower right to view the current events now going on at the zoo.
We love to see you at the zoo!
October the 26 was Boo at the Zoo, where there were trick or treating, games, vendors, costume contests and more. Our animal residents were out for a fun, fall family day.
Brights Zoo was recently featured on Daytime Tri-cities with Amy Lynn and Morgan King. Check out Amy and Morgan’s exploration of the zoo. It was a lot of fun. You can watch Daytime Tri-cities Monday through Friday at 10:00 am on WJHL TV. Their website is www.daytimetricities.com or catch them on facebook .
We are pleased to announce that you can now walk around the entire Brights Zoo facility. Except for occasional maintenance or safety closing, the full site is now available as a self guided walking tour.
You can download a walking tour guide map here. So now you can view giraffes and other back lot animals any time during general admission hours.
General admission hours change monthly and are weather dependent, so we encourage you to check the HOURS tab here on this site and our Facebook page at www.facebook/BrightsZoo for any weather closings before you head out to the zoo. Heavy precipitation or temperatures below 50 degrees force us to send some of our animal residents to shelter.
Does this mean that we can no longer book a scheduled Guided Tour?
Of course not! We are now offering a larger choice of options for your visit. Brights Zoo will continue to offer the same guided experience that has set up apart from all other zoos. If it’s an educational, closer access, guided tour that you are seeking, our signature GUIDED TOURS are still available. Call us today for a booking. Private tours are not scheduled on Sundays.
Look for our Animal Encounter experiences, now scheduled twice daily in the mornings and late evenings.
Welcome to Brights Zoo!
We added 1 pound of live minnows and 1 pound of live shiners to their pond so they could hunt.
Hands on, up close and personal, Brights Zoo lets you connect with a loving animal or gets you as close as you dare with exhibition snakes, reptiles and much more. The animal encounter program is as close as it gets!
Animal encounters happen on a daily schedule at Brights Zoo. Ask for more details on the day of your visit.
Hopefully, you've noticed a few changes around here - from new animals, new pricing and self-guided options - to name a few.
In our endeavor to keep you informed about what’s happening here at the zoo, we are proud to announce we have a new sign. Installed just in time for the 2013 season, you can’t miss seeing the Brights Zoo sign as you near the zoo.
Now you have three sources to stay informed about special events and seasonal changes; this website, Facebook by finding “BrightsZoo”, and now our new sign at the entrance of the zoo at 3425 Hwy 11-E in Limestone, Tennessee.
Come see what’s new at the zoo!
Congratulations to Lion Country Safari on their new White Rhino baby.