SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Animal lovers, welcome Utah’s newest resident — a baby giraffe! 

The 1-year-old baby named Ja-Raffe is now Utah Hogle Zoo’s newest resident, making a cross-country move from the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee.

Ja Raffe stands a petite 10-feet tall and is a male reticulated species that will be living in the African Savannah area. His unique name is an homage to the Memphis Grizzlies basketball star Ja Morant. 

Ja Raffe will join the company of other fellow animals including female giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and Yellow the ostrich in the African Savannah.

“Ja Raffe was given a clean bill of health, completed a standard adjustment quarantine, and is successfully getting to know the rest of the herd and our guests,” said associate director of Utah’s Hogle Zoo Animal Care, Bob Cisneros. “Ja Raffe serves an important educational role as an ambassador for giraffes in the wild and showcases the importance of protecting his magnificent species.”  

Wildlife experts say when Ja Raffe reaches maturity at about 5 to 7 years old, he will participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) for responsible breeding.

The SSP program aims to “identify population goals for species across accredited zoos and creates opportunities to ensure genetic diversity of zoo-born animals.”

(Courtesy of Utah’s Hogle Zoo)