The Giraffidae are ruminant artiodactyl mammals that share a common ancestor with deer and bovids. This biological family, once a diverse group spread throughout Eurasia and Africa, contains only two living members, the giraffe and the okapi. Both are confined to sub-Saharan Africa: the giraffe to the open savannas, and the okapi to the dense rainforest of the Congo. The two species look very different on first sight, but share a number of common features, including long, dark-coloured tongues, lobed canine teeth, and horns covered in skin, called "ossicones".
The Birmingham Zoo is a zoological park that opened in 1955 in Birmingham, Alabama (USA). The 122-acre (49 ha) zoo is home to almost 800 animals representing over 200 species, including many endangered species from six continents.
The Zoo is managed by a private non-profit corporation. It is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), participates in AZA Species Survival Plans (SSP). It is located, along with the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, in Lane Park, a 200-acre (81 ha) city-owned park near the western terminus of U.S. Highway 280 at U.S. Highway 31 on the southern slope of Red Mountain.