Giraffe

Zoo Miami Welcomes 52nd Giraffe Calf

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On the morning of March 28th, Zoo Miami welcomed their 52nd Giraffe calf! The Zoo also captured a series of amazing shots documenting the important event.

Ron Magill, Photographer/Communications Director at the Zoo, said, “In all my years of working with animals and witnessing births, I don’t think that there is any animal that can hold such a large baby in such a compact abdominal area! I am always amazed at the size of the baby that comes out of a Giraffe!”

Seven-year-old mom, Sabra, arrived at Zoo Miami from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa in November of 2013. The new father, Titan, was born at Zoo Miami in June of 2012. This is Sabra’s third calf, as well as Titan’s third offspring (from different partners).

The new calf underwent a neonatal exam. The sex has not been officially confirmed, but the initial indications show it to be a male. Mother and calf will remain off-exhibit until the staff has determined they have bonded well and can be introduced to the rest of the herd.

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4_3Photo Credits: Zoo Miami/ Ron Magill

Giraffes have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor where it receives quite an impactful introduction to the world. Newborns usually weigh more than a hundred pounds at birth and stand nearly 6 feet tall.

The status of the Giraffe in the wild has recently been elevated from an IUCN classification of “Least Concern” to that of being “Vulnerable”, due to significant reductions in their populations over the last several years.  

(More incredible photos, below the fold!)

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Zoo Hosts Naming Contest for Giraffe Calf

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The Santa Barbara Zoo has a new Masai Giraffe calf. The female arrived on March 14, measuring 6’1” tall and weighing-in at 180 pounds. The Zoo reports that the calf and her mom, Audrey, will stay safely tucked away in the Giraffe Barn until animal care staff determines that she’s ready to venture out on exhibit.

In the mean time, the Santa Barbara Zoo has partnered with their local television station, KEYT NewsChannel 3,​ to host a naming contest for the female calf. Four names were pre-selected by the Hutton Parker Foundation and the Zoo’s giraffe team, but they are leaving the final decision up to the public. Visit the Zoo’s website to cast your vote: https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/name-audreys-giraffe-calf

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4_29386199_10155399660390509_368509362227904512_oPhoto Credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) is the largest subspecies of giraffe and is native to East Africa, particularly central and southern Kenya and Tanzania.

The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, and the Masai Giraffe population is reported to have declined by 52% in recent decades, mainly due to poaching.

As an AZA-accredited institution, the Santa Barbara Zoo participates in what’s called the Species Survival Plan for Masai Giraffes – which makes every giraffe calf born at the Zoo exceptionally important. Through this cooperative program, the calves born all serve a significant role: to help keep their species alive. Thanks to their father, Michael, they all carry rare and valuable genes that are vital to keeping the Masai Giraffe population genetically diverse and healthy.


Sweet New Giraffe Calf Joins Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari welcomed a new baby Giraffe on February 4!

The new calf arrived just before the safari closed for the evening, and guests visiting the park had a unique opportunity to witness the incredible birth from their vehicles in the final section of the preserve. A line of cars, with guests, watched as the 132-pound, 5.5-foot-tall female baby was born.

The calf has been named “Kimberlina”. Lion Country Safari’s wildlife team selected her unique name as homage to two special staff members described as, "exceptionally passionate and dedicated to giving [the] Giraffe extraordinary care." Kimberlina is also the name of a type of rose and keeps with the theme of her mother’s and grandmother’s names: Willow and Ayanna (flower), respectively.

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4_DSC_0019Photo Credits: Lion Country Safari (Image 5 = Dad, Cupid, with heart-shaped spot visible on neck)

Mom and baby can be observed spending some quiet bonding time in the maternity area. New dad, Cupid, was recently seen enjoying his own birthday celebration on February 14th. Identifiable by a heart-shaped spot on the right side of his neck, 13-year-old Cupid was observed enjoying special treats, or ‘enrichments’, in the Giraffe-feeding yard throughout the day on Valentine's Day.

Lion Country Safari is home to one of the largest herds, or ‘towers’, of Giraffe in the United States and is the only drive-through safari of its kind in the state of Florida.

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Giraffe Herd Grows by Four Hooves at Kansas City Zoo

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The Masai Giraffe herd at the Kansas City Zoo just grew by four hooves! At 4:57 a.m. on February 2, Giraffe Lizzie gave birth to a female calf.

At the calf’s neonatal exam, the veterinary team determined that the baby is in good health and bonding well with Lizzie. The newborn weighed 105 pounds and stands about five feet tall. 

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KCZoo Giraffe Calf 2Photo Credit: Kansas City Zoo

This baby, which has not yet been named, is the first to be born at the zoo since 2015.  The little girl’s parents are Lizzie, age 6, and eight-year-old Hamisi. Lizzie’s mother, Mahali, is part of the zoo’s herd, so the calf will soon meet her grandmother.  

It’s too cold outside for Lizzie and her baby, so they’ll remain behind the scenes until the weather warms up. In the meantime, fans can see Lizzie and the baby inside the Giraffe barn on the Giraffe Cam.

See more photos of the newborn calf below.

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Peoria Zoo Welcomes Female Giraffe Calf

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On January 7, the Peoria Zoo welcomed their newest Giraffe calf. Mom, Vivian, gave birth to a 5 foot 10 inch, 122 pound baby girl!

The Zoo endeavored to carefully document this latest Giraffe birth. Their goal was to not only celebrate the incredible birth, but to continue to improve husbandry techniques and share their birthing experience with other zoos around the world.

A camera was installed in Vivian's maternity holding stall to monitor and record the birth. Staff had been monitoring the camera, 24/7, for months in preparation of the birth. When the big moment finally came, the entire process was captured on video.

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4_Peoria Zoo Giraffe Calf 9 Jan 2018Photo Credits: Peoria Zoo

Because Giraffes are threatened in their native habitat, every birth is important. The process gives zoologists, conservationists, and researchers the opportunity to study the species and their offspring, as well as educate and inspire zoo visitors.

In conjunction with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP), Peoria Zoo participates in cooperative breeding programs dedicated to building healthy, thriving Giraffe populations, with an emphasis on maintaining genetic diversity. Information gained through SSP husbandry and reproduction programs is used to promote meaningful initiatives meant to foster growth in wild giraffe populations.

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Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes Two Giraffes in One Week

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is delighted to welcome another new Reticulated Giraffe to the family. The healthy female was born November 24 and is the second Giraffe born in the span of a week!

Much to the amazement of Zoo guests, the latest calf was born on exhibit. Guests were able to see the delivery from the Giraffe Overlook.  

This calf is the fourth for mom, Luna, and an impressive 18th offspring for sire, Duke. The most recent addition marks the 41st Giraffe calf born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG).

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4_guests watching John ReedPhoto Credits: JJ Vitale / John Reed / JZG (Images 1-5: Female born Nov. 24, with mom Luna and Auntie Spock ; Images 6-8: Male born Nov. 19, with mom Naomi)

According to staff, Luna was not in labor the morning of November 24, but keepers felt confident in her previous pregnancy and birth experiences. She was encouraged to roam freely and comfortably with the rest of the herd, and knowing she was near the end of her pregnancy, keepers were closely monitoring her throughout the day.

When the calf’s front hooves made an appearance around 12:30 p.m. that day, keepers called most of the herd off exhibit to give Luna space. Another female, Spock, stayed with Luna and gave her privacy for the birth. However, Spock was quick to greet the youngster and help the new mom with the cleaning process. Although Spock has never had any offspring of her own, she has been an excellent “auntie” figure to many calves over the years.

With excited guests cheering form the Overlook, the newborn calf was standing within 30-minutes of birth. Zookeepers observed the calf nursing well, and Luna and the calf will be allowed to stay on exhibit for as long as they are comfortable.

The male calf was born, just a few days prior, on November 19 to mom Naomi. Duke is also his father. A review of security cameras in the Giraffe exhibit show this calf was born at 5 a.m. on the 19th. Veterinary staff examined him late in the afternoon of his birth and measured him at 6’4” tall, with a weight of 191 pounds.

The new male, his mother Naomi, and auntie Spock will also join the new female and mom, Luna, on-exhibit. Both new calves are expected to be out with their herd, assuming the two mothers are comfortable with the situation.

The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, whose sole focus is on the conservation and management of Giraffes in the wild.

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Baby Giraffe Joins the Tower at Zoo Wroclaw

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On October 24, Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw welcomed a female Reticulated Giraffe to their tower (a herd of Giraffes is called a tower).

The baby, named Irma, stood just under six feet tall at birth, and is the tallest of all the babies born at the zoo to date.  Irma’s parents are Imara, the mom, and Rafiki, the father. Two other young females, named Nala and Shani, also live in the tower.

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Photo Credit:  Zoo Wroclaw

Like all Giraffes, Irma was born while her mother was standing up. The baby dropped six feet to the ground and soon afterward was standing and nursing. The standing birth and the minimal time the baby spends on the ground are essential to survival in the wild, where a newborn baby could be targeted by predators.

Giraffes were once plentiful across Africa, but today the nine subspecies live in fragmented populations, and many of those populations are declining. As a whole, Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to illegal hunting and degradation of their habitat. Only about 80,000 Giraffes are estimated to remain today.  Zoo breeding programs are an important part of the species’ future.

See more photos of Irma below.

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Miraculous Giraffe Calf Born at Living Desert Zoo

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On August 27, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens welcomed a female Giraffe calf to their herd. Born to mother, Dadisi, and father, Hesabu, the calf weighed in at 143 pounds and stood 5 feet 11 inches tall.

The calf was given the official name “Shellie Muujiza”. Through a generous gift of $50,000 by long-time supporter Harold Matzner, Shellie Muujiza was named in honor of Harold’s life partner, Shellie Reade. And true to the Giraffe’s heritage, Muujiza mean ‘miracle’ in Swahili.

“We are excited to share the joyous news of our new addition, Shellie. Mother and calf are doing very well and guests have the thrilling opportunity to see them both beginning today,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “While we continue to mourn the loss of Pona, our male Giraffe who suddenly passed away in August, we find comfort in the new life that this Giraffe calf brings to The Living Desert.”

Giraffe Calf  born August 27 at The Living DesertPhoto Credits: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

This is the seventh calf for mom, Dadisi, and ninth calf for father, Hesabu. Dadisi is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002; this is her second female calf. Hesabu is 16 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002. The Living Desert is home to a herd of eight giraffe, five males and three females.

“I am proud to support The Living Desert and their important Giraffe conservation efforts,” said Matzner, who also named baby Harold, the Giraffe born at The Living Desert on April 28, 2017. “It’s a true pleasure to name two Giraffe in their magnificent herd.”

“Dadisi and her calf have bonded and are doing very well. The well-baby exam showed that all her vitals are within the normal range and she is progressing as expected,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Programs at The Living Desert. “We are grateful for Mr. Matzner’s continued generosity and support of our giraffe herd. We look forward to seeing baby Harold and baby Shellie together on the savannah habitat.”

Giraffe gestation is about 15 months. The calf will now nurse for nine to 12 months, and begin eating foliage at about four months. During the first year of her life, she will have doubled her size. Giraffe have their own individual spot-like markings and no two giraffe have the same pattern, similar to humans’ unique fingerprints.

Currently listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “Vulnerable”, Giraffe populations have declined up to 40% over the last 30 years. There are fewer than 98,000 giraffe in the wild. Native to southern and eastern Africa, major threats to giraffe population is habitat loss and fragmentation, civil unrest, and ecological changes.

Visitors can get up-close and personal with these majestic animals by participating in the Giraffe feedings from 9:00 a.m. to noon daily. For more information, visit www.LivingDesert.org .


Lulu the Giraffe Calf Frolics on Her First Day Out

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Last week marked a big milestone for Lulu, Woodland Park Zoo’s baby girl Giraffe. For the first time, the 1½-month-old Giraffe ventured onto the vast African Savanna exhibit with mom Tufani and the herd.

“Lulu’s adventurous spirit and self-confidence were on full display during her first introduction on the savanna. She crossed out to the savanna cautiously, but once she was out there, she explored, galloped, and met our Gazelle, Guinea Fowl and a few Ducks,” said Katie Ahl, a lead keeper at the zoo. “Lulu is very independent but you could tell mom and Lulu were keeping an eye on each other and it was good to see them check in with each other throughout the introduction.”

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2017_08_01 Lula savanna intro 900-12Photo Credits: Dennis Dow/WPZ (2); Jeremy Dwyer-Lundgren/WPZ (1,3,4,5,6,7); J Loughlin/WPZ (8)

Lulu’s aunt Olivia and dad Dave also joined Lulu on the savanna, their first time since Lulu’s birth.

Like human parents who “baby-proof” their homes, keepers prepared the Giraffe exhibit for Lulu’s arrival. “Giraffe-style baby bumpers were added to the exhibit in the form of branches and logs laid along steeper slopes. We also closed up any gaps where she could potentially wedge herself. The baby bumpers and the watchful eyes of her mom and aunt are a great safety net as she explores her new surroundings,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator.

Lulu was born June 20 to first-time parents Tufani, age 9, and 4-year-old Dave. Born  5’9” tall, Lulu currently stands at 7’6” and weighs 267 pounds. Her birth marked the second viable birth of a Giraffe at the zoo since 2013 and the third in 20 years.

Dave and Tufani were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a conservation breeding program across North American accredited zoos that seeks to ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Giraffes.

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New surveys estimate a 36-40% percent decline in Africa’s Giraffe population in the last 30 years. Numbers fell from about 160,000 Giraffes in 1985 to just over 97,000 in 2015. Of the nine Giraffe subspecies, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable.

See more photos of Lulu below.

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Giraffe Calf Born On-Exhibit at Memphis Zoo

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The Memphis Zoo happily announced the arrival of a male Reticulated Giraffe calf on July 12. Giraffe mom, Wendy, chose to remain outside on-exhibit during her labor. Her new calf, Wakati, was born in the open area of the Zoo’s giraffe lot.

Wakati arrived after 15 months of gestation and is Memphis Zoo’s second giraffe birth in three months. His parents are first-time mom, Wendy, and experienced father, Niklas (who is also dad to Bogey, born April 3 of this year). Wendy was also born at Memphis Zoo in 2010 to mother, Marilyn, who remains part of the Zoo herd. Eight-year-old Niklas arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2015 from the Naples Zoo in Florida.

“We are thrilled to welcome Wakati to our giraffe family, as we’ve been waiting a while for this new baby,” shared Courtney Janney, Area Curator. “Wakati means “time” in Swahili, and we felt it was a good fit for our new arrival. Wendy immediately began showing appropriate maternal instincts, and we anticipate her keeping a close eye on Wakati as he integrates into the herd and begins to show independence.”

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Memphis Zoo_Baby GiraffePhoto Credits: Memphis Zoo

After 24 hours of acclimation and close monitoring, Wakati’s first medical check-up was performed. This first examination ensured that the new baby was healthy and nursing, while providing the baseline needed to assess future growth.

“Wakati’s neonatal exam went great! He looks strong and healthy,” reported Dr. Felicia Knightly, senior veterinarian at Memphis Zoo Animal Hospital. “Wakati is 5’10” in height and weighed in at 125 pounds. He’s nursing well and Wendy is already taking good care of him.”

Wakati was welcomed into the herd by another female, Angela Kate, who was in the yard during Wakati’s first steps. Although Wendy started to bond with Wakati moments after the birth by licking him clean and encouraging first steps, Angela Kate remained close by to help.

The giraffe herd at Memphis Zoo has now climbed to a total of nine with the birth of Wakati. From 1996 to 2006, Memphis Zoo did not have a single giraffe birth. Since 2006, at least one new giraffe calf has been born every year. Memphis Zoo has kept Reticulated Giraffes in their facility since August 1957.

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate) is one of nine recognized subspecies of giraffe. Easily the tallest species on the planet, the giraffe can browse on leaves that Africa’s other grazing herbivores can’t reach.

Giraffes travel in loose, informal herds and can be found in eastern, central and southern Africa. They range across savannah, grasslands, and open woods in search of trees (especially their favorite, acacias) to feed upon.