Woodland Park Zoo giraffes Olivia and Dave will soon be empty nesters: Their year-and-a-half-old offspring, Hasani, is headed to a new home in Texas.

Hasani, the zoo’s youngest giraffe, captured attention last year when he was fitted with therapeutic shoes to help heal leg abnormalities.

Hasani (which means “handsome” in Swahili) was born at the zoo last May and zoo staff quickly noticed he was having trouble standing. The zoo consulted with a Kentucky-based equine veterinarian and created custom therapeutic shoes to stabilize his legs and stretch his tendons.

Hasani is healthy and can walk and run like all giraffes now, and since he’s sexually maturing, it’s time for him to leave his herd, Woodland Park Zoo officials said.

Hasani is moving to a 120-acre private breeding facility in Merkel, Texas, where he’s expected to be joined by a female this fall, the zoo said in a blog post. He’ll have access to 10 acres of grounds plus a barn for shelter, the zoo said.

The 13-foot, 1,300-pound giraffe will make the trip in a ventilated livestock trailer with an extended top.


The Texas facility is affiliated with Hemker Park & Zoo in Freeport, Minn., which isn’t accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the body that accredits Woodland Park Zoo and most other major zoos and aquariums. Woodland Park Zoo said Hemker Park & Zoo is “well regarded in the AZA community.”

Hemker Park & Zoo declined to provide more information about the Texas facility.

In a Monday update to its blog post, the zoo clarified the reasons for Hasani’s move and said there was not a placement for him available at an AZA facility. Hemker Park & Zoo is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers and enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act of 1964, the zoo said.

“A Woodland Park Zoo curator with decades of experience visited the new location in Texas weeks ago to specifically tour the space, meet the staff and we consulted references,” the zoo wrote. “His visit confirmed that the facility complies with Woodland Park Zoo’s standards, USDA standards, and AZA protocols that ensure excellent animal care.”

The last day to see Hasani in Seattle is Sunday, Oct. 18. There are three other giraffes at Woodland Park Zoo: Olivia and Dave (Hasani’s parents) and Olivia’s younger sister, Tufani.

“Hasani showed a lot of spunk from the moment he was born,” associate veterinarian Dr. Tim Storms said in a news release. “We will miss this brave giraffe.”

This story was updated Wednesday, Oct. 14, with additional information from Woodland Park Zoo about the Texas breeding facility.