VALENCIA residents have been asked to vote online to name a baby giraffe born a month ago at the city's Bioparc open-air safari centre.
One of the highly-endangered Baringo species, the baby – a female – is the result of a breeding plan to help preserve the genes of this race of giraffe which is among the most threatened on the planet, due to illegal hunting and destruction of their habitat.
Mother and baby are said to be doing well, and the mum is feeding the little addition 'normally', say staff.
The rest of the herd has fully accepted the baby – especially her 'aunt', called Che, who tends to act as mother figure and protector to the others.
At the moment, the baby remains in an enclosed area with her mum, although with a patio to shelter her from the sun during the warmest part of the day, but once she is weaned she will join the others in relative freedom.
The Bioparc, based in what used to be the river Turia before it was diverted and what is now a botanical garden cutting through the city, recreates the animals' natural habitat as far as possible and lets them roam freely – so freely, in fact, that visitors can touch them and even have a picnic in their midst.
The baby giraffe's shortlisted names, which residents, visitors and other Bioparc fans can vote on, are Kenia ('Kenya') because of its being one of the world's main giraffe habitats and home to 'some of the most beautiful landscapes on the African continent'; Gaia, the mother earth goddess in Greek mythology; Lluna, which means 'moon' in the Valencian language, and Paz ('peace'), the Bioparc's wish for the world in 2016.
Both the latter two are 'proper' human names in Spain or, in the case of the latter, in Spanish-speaking countries – the Mexican-born Hollywood actress Paz Vega being one example.
Photograph: Bioparc Valencia