Zoo Knoxville's new giraffe named in zookeeper's honor

Video from when Zoo Knoxville new giraffe, Frances, was born in Minnesota. (Video: Kare 11)

KNOXVILLE - Updated Monday Sept. 5

Zoo Knoxville's newest giraffe is getting used to its East Tennessee home and meeting her new friends. 

Frances is just one year old, but already 10 feet tall and 740 lbs. She arrived at Zoo Knoxville on Sunday after traveling all the way from the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

She gets her name from a former zookeeper in Minnesota who really liked Frank Sinatra. 

While he was working behind the scenes for nearly three decades, Pete Lee and the animals would listen to Frank Sinatra records. 

"I've always suggested that a nice name for one of our beautiful creatures would be Francis, or Frances with an 'e' for a female," Lee told our Minneapolis sister station, KARE 11. 

He said he was simply "over the moon" that they named the new giraffe in his honor. 

Frances was the 19th giraffe born at Como Zoo in the last 22 years. 

She joins three giraffes already at Zoo Knoxville. She will be a companion to their female giraffes, Patches and Lucille, and could be a potential mate for their male giraffe, Jumbe, in the future. 

Frances will be slowly introduced to her new herd over the next few days.

On Monday, Zoo Knoxville said she did "extremely well overnight, and continues to be one cool little giraffe about the introduction process." They plan to let her meet the other female giraffes Monday afternoon and maybe their male. 

She is expected to make her public debut on Tuesday. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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