Animal Adventure Park zookeepers Allysa Swilley and Corey Dwyer have commemorated the birth of April the giraffe’s calf, Tajiri. The two, who decided on the calf’s name together, got matching tattoos of Tajiri’s name and his birth date in Roman numerals (see the photo below) on their forearms.
It has been just over a month since April birthed her fourth calf. People all over the world were able to tune in to a live YouTube feed that caught the whole thing on camera. For weeks, people had been checking in on the pregnant giraffe, some even spending hours a day waiting for her to go into labor. When the time finally came, fans were simply overjoyed. April gave birth to her healthy calf on April 15.
Over the span of a few weeks, people got to know the zookeepers at Animal Adventure Park really well. The park’s owner, Jordan Patch, and two of the zookeepers, Allysa and Corey, were the three humans who were front and center much of that time, as they were the ones primarily caring for April and her mate, Oliver.
As you can imagine, people watching the live cam developed a relationship with these folks and just about everyone seemed to love them — and appreciate all they did for the animals in their care.
This is the reason that so many people wanted Allysa to be the one to name April’s calf. Allysa has such an incredibly special relationship with April and so many people loved watching the two interact day after day.
After April’s baby was born, Animal Adventure Park held a baby-naming contest in which the public could vote on what to name the newest member of the zoo family. One of the choices submitted was “Allysa’s choice,” which allowed the zookeeper to pick a name that she liked for April’s offspring. That ended up being the “name” chosen by the public and Allysa knew that she couldn’t decide without Corey, whom she often refers to as her “co-parent.” The two bounced a few choices back and forth and finally decided on the name “Tajiri,” which means “hope and confidence” in Swahili.
Now, the name and the memories of April’s pregnancy are inked on Allysa and Corey forever. It was a great way for the two to remember this incredible time in their careers and their lives. Allysa showed off the new ink on Instagram last week. Check the tattoos out in the photo below.
Things have gone back to normal — for the most part — for Allysa and Corey. While the two have experienced a bit of internet fame, they are back to being completely focused on the animals at Animal Adventure Park and are taking in all of the baby giraffe snuggles they can get while Tajiri is still “small.”
Now that the live giraffe cam is down, people have been trying to find other ways to occupy their time. However, AAP has done a great job at keeping folks updated on Tajiri and the other zoo happenings. There is also a live feed of the giraffes available every Tuesday evening, which is an awesome way for people to watch their favorite giraffe family.
When you're a kid they ask you what you want to do when you grow up. I said I wanted to work with animals. When you graduate college they ask what you want to do with your life. I said I wanted to make a difference. Now here I am celebrating my 24th birthday working with incredible animals and helping to give a voice giraffes around the world. Dream big. You never know what you can achieve. So what's next? Maybe I take over the world. Maybe I name a baby giraffe. Maybe I get some much needed sleep. Looks like I have to find out.
On May 15, AAP reopened for the season. They have been welcoming guests to the zoo, many of whom simply couldn’t wait to see April the (now famous) giraffe, Oliver, and baby Tajiri. Of course, getting to see Jordan, Allysa, and Corey is cool too! Will you be getting to Animal Adventure park in New York this year?
What do you think of Allysa and Corey’s matching Tajiri tattoos?
[Featured Image by Animal Adventure Park/Instagram]