Giraffe

Jacksonville Zoo Welcomes Two Giraffes in One Week

1_calf John Reed

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

Shellie Giraffe Calf Born at TLD

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.


Giraffe Calf Takes Baby Steps Toward a Healthy Future

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Julius the Reticulated Giraffe calf is taking baby steps toward recovery after facing several challenges in his first few weeks of life.

Born June 15 at the Maryland Zoo, the 143-pound, six-foot tall calf stood on wobbly legs just 20 minutes after birth to first-time mother, Kesi.

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19510293_10150851118144987_1687018765733478862_nPhoto Credit: Maryland Zoo



Giraffe calves normally begin nursing within an hour or two of birth, but this was not the case for Julius.  Without this early nursing, Julius was missing out on important antibodies and nutrition in the first milk, known as colostrum, produced by his mother. By the next morning, keepers supplemented Julius’ feeding with a special colostrum formula delivered by bottle.

Although Kesi nuzzled Julius and was protective of him, she still did not nurse her calf after two days.  The Maryland Zoo staff contacted their colleagues at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium to obtain Giraffe plasma in an effort to boost Julius’ immune system. The two teams drove through the night and met in West Virginia to hand off the life-saving plasma. Julius received a transfusion the next morning.

Meanwhile, the zoo staff monitored Julius’ weight and bloodwork daily, hoping that Kesi’s nursing instinct would kick in. But for reasons not known, Julius is still not nursing with any regularity. When Julius was about four days old, the staff began bottle-feeding him multiple times per day.

Except for feeding time and veterinary checks, Julius (so named because his father is called Caesar) spends all his time with Kesi. The two appear to have a strong bond, despite the lack of nursing.

Though Julius has good days, when he gains five pounds in 24 hours, he also has challenging days with minimal weight gain and overall weakness.  His keepers tirelessly deliver expert intensive care, and though Julius still faces many hurdles, the staff remains optimistic about Julius’ future. They are especially heartened by community members and colleagues at Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) zoos who support #TeamJulius.

Julius’ story is a reminder that every Giraffe birth is important to the future of the species. The nine species and subspecies of Giraffe, all native to Africa, are in drastic decline. Their numbers have plummeted 40% in the last two decades. In December 2016, Giraffes were uplisted to Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

See more photos of Julius below.

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Celebrate ‘World Giraffe Day’ With This New Calf

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Today is ‘World Giraffe Day’, and what better way to celebrate than by announcing a new Giraffe birth!

On June 8, the Fort Worth Zoo welcomed a male Reticulated Giraffe to the herd. At birth, the soon-to-be named calf weighed 185 pounds and stood roughly 6 feet tall. When fully grown, he will weigh up to 3,000 pounds and measure about 18 feet from head to hoof.

The Fort Worth Zoo houses Reticulated Giraffes, and their name describes the mammal’s chestnut-brown rectangular markings. Like human fingerprints, each Giraffe pattern is different. Native to the African savannas, a Giraffe’s most distinguishing feature is its long neck, which can account for 7 feet of its height.

The new calf, along with the rest of the herd, will soon join several other species in the Zoo’s new African Savanna exhibit, scheduled to open next year. Guests will not only see mixed species interacting and sharing the space, but will also have an opportunity to stand eye-to-eye and feed these gentle giants.

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4_FWZ giraffe calf 4Photo Credits: Fort Worth Zoo

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF): “World Giraffe Day is an exciting annual event initiated by GCF to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year!

Not only is it a worldwide celebration of these amazing and much loved animals, but an annual event to raise support, create awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffe face in the wild. By supporting World Giraffe Day (WGD) you directly help save giraffe in Africa. With only 100,000 giraffe remaining in the wild, the time is right to act NOW!

Zoos, schools, NGOs, governments, institutions, companies and conservation organisations around the world are hosting events on 21 June every year to raise awareness and support for giraffe in the wild.”

For more information on ‘World Giraffe Day’, please see GCF’s website: https://giraffeconservation.org/

More great pics below the fold!

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Chester Zoo’s Giraffe Birth Caught on Camera

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CCTV cameras at Chester Zoo recently captured the beautiful moment a rare Rothschild’s Giraffe calf was born. The five-foot-tall male arrived April 3 to eight-year-old mum Orla. His fall to earth and first wobbly steps were also caught on camera.

Zookeepers say that Orla delivered her youngster smoothly following a four-hour labor; bringing an end to her 15-month pregnancy.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe team manager, said, “Orla went into labor at around noon and, for a little while, we could just see two spindly legs poking out. She’s an experienced mum and a few hours later she delivered the calf safely onto soft straw as the rest of the herd, including her other young Kidepo and Millie, looked on.”

“Although it might be quite a drop, and they may fall to the ground with a bit of a thud, it’s how Giraffe calves arrive into the world and it stimulates them into taking their first breaths. That whole process, from a calf being born to it taking its very first steps, is an incredibly special thing to see.”

“Those long legs take a little bit of getting used to but the new calf is doing ever so well, as is mum. She’s an excellent parent and is doing a fantastic job of nursing her new arrival.”

“The world may be waiting for April the Giraffe to have her calf over in America, but Orla has beaten her to it!”

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4_Giraffe calf born at Chester Zoo - first pictures (5)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The calf is the second Rothschild’s Giraffe to be born at the Zoo in the space of just four months, following the arrival of male, Murchison, on Boxing Day. Chester Zoo’s Giraffe keepers have chosen to call the new calf “Narus” in honor of a valley in Kidepo National Park in Uganda, where some of their Giraffe field conservation work is based.

Conservationists at the Zoo hope that both arrivals will help to throw a spotlight on the plight of the endangered species and the different threats faced in the wild. Rothschild’s Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis) are one of the world’s rarest mammals and recent estimates suggest that less than 1,600 remain.

Tim Rowlands, curator of mammals, added, “Poaching in the wild over the last few decades has led to a 90% decline in wild Rothschild’s Giraffe numbers. Despite ongoing conservation efforts, the species is really struggling to bounce back as the constant threat of habitat loss continues to push the last remaining population ever closer to extinction.”

“Right now the Zoo is working hard out in Africa on a conservation action plan to ensure that populations don’t fall to an even more critical level. We’ve got to stand tall for these amazing animals.”

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Baby Giraffe Gets Help From Two Zoos

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A baby Reticulated Giraffe born February 28 at the Denver Zoo received a plasma transfusion as a precaution after he experienced difficulties in his first few days of life. 

Staff at the Denver Zoo did not know until recently that the calf’s mother, Kipele, was pregnant. When she delivered her calf, which keepers named Dobby, staff was on hand to monitor the birth and the baby’s progress.  Baby Giraffes normally begin nursing within a few hours of birth and receive important antibodies from colostrum, which is the nutrient-rich milk produced at the end of pregnancy. When the staff noticed that Dobby was not nursing and had trouble standing, they stepped in to feed the calf and provide critical care.

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Baby_giraffe-Dobby_01Photo Credit:  Denver Zoo

Dobby began nursing and seemed to gain strength with his supplemental feedings, but blood tests showed that Dobby did not receive enough infection-fighting proteins from his mother due to his difficulties with nursing. So veterinarians provided colostrum-replacer and a transfusion of plasma to boost Dobby’s immune system.

Giraffe plasma is not easy to obtain, but fortunately the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where Kipele was born, was able to help.  Keepers there had done voluntary training with their Giraffes, which hold still for injections and small blood samples. Recently, they were able to collect larger volumes of blood in order to bank plasma for emergency situations just like this one.

The cooperation between the Denver Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff is just one example of the tremendous cooperation among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Zoos work together to save animals – from entire species on the brink of extinction to individual animals like Dobby.

See more photos below!

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Maryland Zoo Announces Recent Birth of Giraffe Calf

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is thrilled to announce the birth of a female Reticulated Giraffe calf. Born on February 6, to four-year-old Juma and eleven-year-old Caesar, this new calf is the first giraffe to be born at the Zoo in over 20 years!

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome this beautiful calf to the Zoo family,” said Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of the Zoo. “She will bring a lot of excitement to the Giraffe House and make a wonderful addition to the herd.”

Juma went into labor at approximately 3:00 pm and the calf was born at 4:35 pm. “Standing is one of the first major milestones for a newborn giraffe, and she was able to fully stand on her own in just 50 minutes,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “It’s safe to say that we were all silently cheering her on and were very excited to see her up on four legs.”

“Juma is an amazing mother! Her instincts are on target,” continued Cantwell. “She is very attentive and has been very patient with the calf as she learns to nurse. Mother and calf are bonding well and appear to be settling into their new routine with ease. All the other giraffes are curious about this new addition -- it’s fun to watch them watching the calf.”

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4_JFB1281Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo

During her first veterinary exam, the calf was measured at 6’1” and weighed approximately 125 pounds. “Health-wise everything looks pretty perfect so far,” stated Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian. “All signs so far indicate we have a very healthy and strong female calf, and certainly an excellent mom.”

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