South Carolina Zoo Names New Baby Giraffe 'Amelia' to Honor Local Girl Who Battled Brain Cancer

Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens' giraffe calf was named, following an online contest, after 8-year-old Amelia Attaway who passed away in 2014 from brain cancer

Photo: Courtesy Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Four years ago, a very sick 8-year-old girl named Amelia Attaway’s last wish was to spend a day behind-the-scenes at the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina, meeting and feeding the giraffes. Tragically, the young animal lover, who had a special affinity for the long-necked species, lost her battle with brain cancer in 2014, reports NBC WYFF 4 News.

Fortunately, Amelia’s family and the zoo she enjoyed so much have found a sweet, unique way to honor the much beloved young lady.

Courtesy Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

On Monday, the animal park announced on Facebook that a baby giraffe born there last month had been named in honor of Amelia. Not long ago, the zoo held a naming contest, with all proceeds to benefit giraffe conservation. The winning group, which included Amelia Attaway’s parents, bid $5,000 for the chance to name the newborn.

Courtesy Southern Hook Photography

“The timing is absolutely perfect to remembering her this April from passing away four years ago,” Amelia’s mom, Samantha Attaway, told WISTV 10. “I said at the time, well, Amelia’s a great name for a giraffe and my best friends jumped on that straight away and said, ‘Oh, wouldn’t that be great?’ ”

Currently, Amelia the baby giraffe is exploring the giraffe yard. The zoo says she’ll be on exhibit for brief periods until she grows more accustomed to her family’s outdoor habitat.

Courtesy Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

“I could not think of a better memorial for my daughter then naming a giraffe after her,” Amelia’s mother told WYFF 4 News.

“It’s really hard to know to remember a child. Cemeteries, gravestones just don’t seem appropriate. You just really have to remember the love that a child has for everything in life.”

As of May 2, Amelia the giraffe is one month old, reports the zoo, posting an adorable photo of mom and daughter on Facebook this morning.

Courtesy Southern Hook Photography

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“Little Amelia is one month old today! She continues to explore the giraffe habitat for brief periods as she strengthens those baby legs.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of her, your best bet is right away in the mornings. But know, Amelia and Ginger’s schedule could change without notice!”

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