Why giraffes?

Choosing an iconic shape to decorate the city

When choosing which sculpture shape for our Giraffe About Town trail, designed in partnership with Wild in Art, giraffes were the natural fit.

At Edinburgh Zoo, we worked hard to bring giraffes back to the capital after 15 years with support from the public and our partners at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

Our fabulous five arrived at the zoo in May 2021 and have settled in well. Ronnie, Arrow, Gerald, Fennessy and Gilbert make up our bachelor herd who can be spotted in their new, expertly built habitat on the zoo’s hilltop (and if you believe social media, from Dundee and St Andrews too).

Thinking with our conservation cap on

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has worked to protect threatened species in Scotland and around the world for over 100 years. As a leading conservation charity, we aim to connect people to nature and safeguard threatened species across the globe.

We are facing a biodiversity crisis and at RZSS we are doing everything we can to inspire and empower communities to help save animals from extinction and protect the natural world.

Our charity is part of over 20 conservation projects around the world, from breeding the tiny pine hoverfly in the Scottish Highlands, to helping protect chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest in Uganda.

The newest project includes our work with GCF, the only organisation in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffes in the wild throughout Africa. The number of wild giraffes has declined by almost 30% since the 1980s, facing threats such as habitat loss, poaching, disease, war and civil unrest throughout Africa.

This new partnership directly contributes to the protection and restoration of giraffes in Uganda. We are supporting staff training initiatives and conservation monitoring efforts, as well as helping GCF understand the success of their reintroduction programmes across the country in collaboration with our RZSS WildGenes laboratory, based at Edinburgh Zoo.

Edinburgh, stick your neck out

It was a tall order but as well as being easily recognisable, these majestic giants can help raise awareness of the conservation needs of our planet and the species who call it home. Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world and it seemed only fitting that they stand tall throughout Edinburgh during the summer, while the public falls back in love with the capital.

As well as being the perfect ambassadors for threatened species around the world, the unique shape will allow artists to get creative with distinctive designs.

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Giraffe About Town