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Blank Park Zoo announces departure of Raza, a 2-year-old giraffe

For those wanting to say goodbye, Raza's last day in Des Moines will be Oct. 25.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Editor's Note: The above video was originally published in February 2022. 

It's time to say 'see you later' to a fan favorite animal at Blank Park Zoo

Raza, a nearly two-year-old giraffe, will be starting a new adventure as he moves to a different zoo near the West Coast, the zoo announced in a statement.

The exact zoo location has not yet been revealed.

Raza's departure was partly decided by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Blank Park Zoo works with zoos across the continent to help protect endangered animals.

While Raza's move may seem early or too soon for the young giraffe, officials say now is the time. 

“There are several important reasons for Raza to move now,” said Jay Tetzloff, chief animal officer. “First, in natural areas, a male giraffe typically leaves his mother at about this age. Second, it’s far less stressful for everyone to move a giraffe before it’s fully grown. Finally, fall or spring are the best seasons to move an animal based on weather and temperature conditions.”

Goodbye's sure are tough, but we're so excited for Raza's next adventure 🦒💛 Raza, an almost two-year-old male...

Posted by Blank Park Zoo on Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The young giraffe will be transported in a trailer with an adjustable roof, allowing the trailer to safely pass under bridges.

Raza was born in January of 2021, the first calf of Skye. Like other giraffes at the zoo, his name was decided by a public vote. Raza was ultimately chosen, a name that means "hope".

Raza's last day to be seen and visited by the public will be Oct. 25.

"It's been such a pleasure to watch Raza grow from the day he was born until now," said Kayla Freeman, supervisor of large mammals. "He is so eager and has made huge strides in training. We will miss him and how personable he is with his keepers." 

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