Spotless Baby Giraffe at Tennessee Zoo Named 'Kipekee' After Nationwide Vote

"From a lot of guests we talked to, that was the easiest name for a child to say," David Bright, director of the Brights Zoo, joked on Tuesday


Bright's Zoo

Kipekee, the spotless giraffe

The spotless baby giraffe believed to be the only of its kind has been finally given a name: Kipekee.

Her moniker, said to mean "unique" in Swahili, was announced on the Today show Tuesday by David Bright, director of the Brights Zoo in Tennessee.

Approximately 40,000 people from across the world had voted to name the 5-week-old animal, the NBC morning show said, with Kipekee getting 36% of the vote. "From a lot of guests we talked to, that was the easiest name for a child to say," Bright joked.

Other options were Firyali ("unusual" or "extraordinary"), Shakiri ("she is most beautiful") and Jamella ("one of great beauty"). The Bright family had all picked the names, submitting options before narrowing it down to the final four.

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Voting then took place on social media. "We ended up using a program to take all the comments and put them into Excel. Then, we were able to sort that Excel spreadsheet out and hand-count all the votes," Bright explained on Today.

As for Kipekee — who was born on July 31 — she's doing well, Bright said. "She’s still very laid back and curious about everything; checking everything out every day," he noted.

The solid brown baby giraffe is the first born since 1972, according to the Brights Zoo, who notes that giraffe was born in Tokyo, Japan. There are no other living giraffe’s in this color, with a giraffe's lifespan roughly lasting 25-30 years.

"Giraffe experts believe she is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet," Brights Zoo founder Tony Bright previously told PEOPLE.

Related: Baby Giraffe Welcomed at Sacramento Zoo: 'Happy and Warm with Mom'

The Brights Zoo is a private, family-run facility located in Limestone, Tennessee. The USDA-licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), offers self-guided and guided tours, with topics including learning how to recognize animals at each exhibit and their unique adaptations for survival.

<p>Bright's Zoo</p> Kipekee, the spotless giraffe

Bright's Zoo

Kipekee, the spotless giraffe

Kipekee — as well as another baby giraffe new to the zoo — has already been drawing big crowds since her birth was announced last month.

She's also drawn attention to a worldwide problem. "The international coverage of our patternless baby giraffe has created a much-needed spotlight on giraffe conservation," Tony Bright told PEOPLE. "Wild populations are slightly slipping into extinction, with 40% of the wild giraffe population lost in just the last 3 decades."

Related: Milwaukee Zoo Giraffe Gives Birth to Calf in Front of Guests After Labor Progresses Quickly

Those interested in seeing her are encouraged to go "the earlier the better," the zoo noted on its website. "Her normal routine is she is out first thing in the morning," the wrote. "As we are in our hotter part of the year, both of our giraffe calves tend to want to go inside once temps get too hot. Lately, that has been around 2:00 p.m.  If it is extremely hot, they may move inside earlier."

"Normally around 2:00 p.m., [Kipekee] will get access to a much more shaded area. Viewing can be more difficult when she is in the most shady area. Sometime in between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., both babies and moms get access to their barns."

Today airs weekdays on NBC beginning at 7 a.m. ET.

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