Belated Birthday Bouquet

She’s big, beautiful, has experience with babies and recently celebrated her birthday – it’s Imara the giraffe! This experienced mother, who recently gave birth to calf Tiana in early 2021, just turned 19 on Easter Sunday. In honor of her spring birthday, Zoo Keeper and upcoming Zoo Chef James went out on Zoo grounds on a lovely spring morning to forage for browse to make a special birthday treat.

For Imara, a simple wreath of Russian olive branches as well as a few sprigs of colorful photinia make the perfect meal and James had no issue in creating this Animeals.

James knew exactly where to find his ingredients, and hand cut the foliage in a behind-the-scenes area of the Zoo near the giraffe and rhino exhibits. After gathering his ingredients, he began crafting a wreath on the spot, meticulously weaving them together to make one large bouquet or wreath for Imara, and a smaller one for Tiana, of course.

man uses garden clippersman uses clippers to cut plant

hands weaving branches together

man weaves a wreath

man walks holding two wreaths out by his sides

Giraffes typically eat foods that are elevated off of the ground, so James hung Imara’s wreath on the elevated giraffe feeder, while Tiana’s wreath was hung a little closer to the ground on a fence in the exhibit.

ostrich stands near man

Both Imara and Tiana enjoyed the birthday enrichment, while Jack the ostrich also enjoyed watching the giraffes eat and tried to steal a few nibbles while James was setting up.

ostrich pecking at hanging wreath

giraffe eats hanging wreath

adult giraffe eats from elevated feeder

Imara, Tiana and the rest of the herd can be seen on exhibit in the Africa- Okavango Delta. Be sure to wish her a happy belated birthday on your next visit to the Zoo!