A pair of gentle giraffes named Desi and Buttercup, who live at the Oregon Zoo, used their long black tongues to accept treats of carrots and leaves from their handler’s hand. They also used them to take treats from one another.
Giraffes use their long prehensile tongues to grab and tear leaves from trees (and carrots from hands)!
Both animals are part of the Zoo’s conservation program.
Scientists estimate that over the past two decades, giraffe numbers have dropped across Africa by about 40%. This is due to habitat loss, disease transmitted by livestock, civil war and unrest, and poaching. Giraffes as a whole are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, but the zoo’s two subspecies of giraffes – reticulated and Masai – are listed as endangered.