White Giraffe: Send Bids For a New Name
We currently known her as Omo, but that is subject to change.
Pictures of Tanzania's rare white giraffe, Omo, have gone viral this week, signifying the 15-month-old is alive and well at Tarangire National Park. But her survival hangs in the balance, as poachers may be drawn to her unique coloration and that of any other white giraffes. Omo's current name references a popular brand of detergent in Tanzania. Right now, to help raise money for conservation efforts, a new name for the giraffe is being auctioned to the highest bidder.
An organization in Nashville, Tenn. that calls itself Won Name is leading that effort. Kevin Page, the founder of Won Name, which auctions names for causes such as this, took some time to speak with Nature World News about how bidding to re-name Omo works.
The winner of the auction will choose which conservation non-profit will receive the donation, as Page noted in the interview. "Each organization has a slightly different approach, but they all focus on education and conservation. Some of the funds might be used to study animal migration, stop poachers of illegal wildlife trade, and reduce human-wildlife conflicts. A few of the non-profits go a step farther to develop economic programs for the local communities."
When submitting your bid and name choice, you can choose one of several non-profits to support, including the Jane Goodall Institute, Wild Nature Institute, PAMS Foundation, African People and Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Tanzania Conservation Resource Center, and the African Conservation Fund.
It's an important effort. "Giraffes are in trouble and their threatened status should be taken just as serious as the elephants and lions," Page added.
Just to make this clear, Omo has a genetic condition known as leucism. This means that many, but not all, of her skin cells are unable to produce pigment, which is why she is pale.
When asked what names have been suggested, Page said: "Surprisingly, no one has suggested Omo. So far, the top names have been Ziggy Stardust, Bella Grace, and White Splendor, with new ones streaming into our office."
However, the decision will ultimately come down to the highest bidder -- who will also be the only person charged for their bid amount.
"The campaign is open for two weeks. So far, the top bid is $200 for the name Bella Grace," Page added.
The auction to name the giraffe started soon after National Geographic asked, "What would you name her?," noting that the organization Wild Nature Institute was looking for a less-temporary name for her. Ecologist Dr. Derek Lee also moved along the question by saying, "We hope Omo's popularity will raise global awareness for the problems facing giraffes." Conservationists hope the auction will move more members of the public from awareness to action.
To submit your bid, choose a name for the white giraffe and email it with your name, phone number, and bid to firstname.lastname@example.org. No credit card information is required at the time of submission. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. CST on Feb. 10th. Highest bidders will be contacted shortly after that, to verify and forward payment to the conservation cause of their choice.
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