Lee hopes the media’s interest in Omo can be used to shed light on the dire situation facing worldwide giraffe populations. According to Lee, habitat depletion and hunting for giraffe meat has caused giraffe populations throughout Africa to decline rapidly.
According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, there were more than 140,000 giraffes in Africa in 1999. Today the organization estimates that there are fewer than 80,000 giraffes on the continent.
“We hope Omo’s popularity will raise global awareness for the problems facing giraffes,” Lee said.
Lee noted that Omo is fitting right in with her giraffe peers.
“It was interesting that people wondered whether Omo was living happily within her herd,” he said. “I think people love the fact that Omo was accepted by her more typically colored peers because it speaks to the human aspiration of tolerance and acceptance of those who look different and are not normal.”