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Unlikely Pollinators

Giraffes help pollinate trees on the African savanna.

May 30, 2018 - Giraffes are the tallest terrestrial animals on the planet, but it turns out they also make another huge contribution to the world. Did you know that, like bees, giraffes help pollinate plants?

Here’s how it works. Unlike animals, trees cannot go in search of sex partners—they need someone to help them transfer pollen, either between the male and female parts of the tree’s own flowers, or between the flowers produced by different trees.

You’re probably familiar with the world’s most well-known pollinators, bees and birds, but many other animals help pollinate plants as well. In Africa, long-necked giraffes roam around grazing on the flowers from acacia trees, which have blossoms high off the ground. In doing this, they inadvertently serve as pollinators by spreading pollen from tree to tree.

The ABQ BioPark’s has six reticulated giraffes—adults Buccaneer, Camilla, Niara and June, and recent zoo babies Jambazi and Malika. You can get up close and personal with Zoo’s giraffes by participating in a giraffe feeding through September 4. Feedings occur from 12-1:30 p.m. on Wednesdays-Sundays. The fee is $2 per person.

Want to learn more about giraffes and pollinators?

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