It's a Boy! Second Giraffe Calf in Eight Months Born at Brookfield Zoo

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Jasiri, a 7½-year-old Giraffe at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, gave birth to a male calf on June 21. The first-time mom had the baby outside in an off-exhibit area. Soon after being born, the 173-pound, 5-foot-9-inch-tall calf stood, and was nursing not long after that. This calf is the 59th Giraffe born at Brookfield Zoo. Following a 14½-month gestation period, mother Giraffes give birth while standing. When fully grown, the new calf can potentially reach 18 feet tall.

Giraffe numbers have declined by 40 percent in the last decade, and there are now fewer than 80,000 individuals in Africa. There are fewer than 5,000 Reticulated Giraffes left in East Africa. Additionally, of the nine subspecies of Giraffes in Africa, two—the West African Giraffe and the Rothschild’s Giraffe—are classified as endangered, with less than 250 and 670 individuals, respectively, remaining in the wild. The populations are declining due to a number of factors, including habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with human population growth and illegal hunting.

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Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo


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Prematurely Born Giraffe Calf Getting Stronger at Zoo Brno

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This baby is a fighter! Born prematurely just over a week ago at Zoo Brno, this Reticulated Giraffe calf came into the world frail and weak. Though it began to suckle from its mother, it was not able to feed very well. It is vitally important that a calf get enough colostrum through the milk right away to develop its immune system. But under the constant supervision of its keepers and zoo veterinarians, the baby has gotten stronger, and the zoo can report the calf is slowly growing.

So much so, that Mom Tosha and the baby stepped out into the yard to get a healthy dose of sunshine in rear garden within the Giraffe yard!

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Photo Credit: ZooBrno

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males can average 19 feet (5.8 m) tall and weigh between 2,400 and 4,250 pounds (1,089-1,920 kg). Females measure up to 17 feet (5.2 m) tall and weigh between 1,540 and 2,600 pounds (698-1,179 kg). Much of the height is due to their long neck, which can be 8 feet (2.5 m) in length and can weigh almost 500 pounds - yet it's made up of only 7 bones, the same number as we have in our own. The little horns or cones on the top of their heads are used for sparring between males. Giraffe spots are as unique to each animal as our finger prints are to us. 

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Giraffe Calf Explores the Savanna at San Francisco Zoo


San Francisco Zoo welcomed a healthy female Reticulated Giraffe calf early in the morning of May 22nd. At birth, the calf was 130 pounds and 5’10” tall. Animal keepers report that the new calf has had positive interaction with the adult giraffe group and “has a lot of spunk.”


The calf's mother Kristin, an 11-year old Giraffe born at Busch Gardens in Tampa, has already given birth to three other calves. During this pregnancy the Zoo completed its first successful awake ultrasounds, which enabled animal staff to monitor the health of the fetus. “We are very excited about this birth,” said Jim Nappi, Curator of Hoofstock and Marsupials at the San Francisco Zoo. “Giraffes add a special majesty to our multi-species African Savanna exhibit. Their successful breeding means that our Zoo-wide Wellness Initiative is working as it should be; and when the animals are thriving, we are happy.”


Growing up to 18 feet tall, Giraffes are the tallest living land mammals. Males weigh up to 4,000 pounds with females weighing up to 2,600 pounds. The Reticulated Giraffe is characterized by its distinct "reticulated" grid-like pattern of narrow white lines and dark brown coloring. They are found throughout various regions of Africa.



Got Legs? There's a New Baby Giraffe at Budapest Zoo

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A baby Rothschild Giraffe was born just after dawn at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 25. ViItal and healthy, the 5' 6" (17o cm) tall baby was determined to be a female and will be introduced to the public in just a few days. Her six-year-old mother Sandra was born in Prague Zoo in 2007. Naturally, this baby is the first for Sandra, but the 28th for the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also called the Baringo Giraffe. This is an Endangered subspecies of giraffes, but it is the most common in European Zoos.

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Photo Credit: Budapest Zoo

Watch this four minute, at times high-speed summary of the baby's birth, which happened in the wee hours of the morning:

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Santa Barbara Zoo Welcomes Two Masai Giraffe Calves


It's been an exciting two weeks for Santa Barbara Zoo, with two Masai giraffe calves born within ten days of each other! Five year-old Audrey gave birth to the first calf, a male named Dane, on April 18th. On April 28th, five year-old Betty Lou gave birth to a female, Sunshine. Both calves are healthy and under their mothers' care. Dane is six feet three inches tall and weighs 156 pounds. Slightly smaller, Sunshine stands six feet tall and weighs 133 pounds.

The mother-calf pairs will be rotated on and off exhibit, to allow them time to bond behind-the-scenes in a quiet barn. While both mothers are attentively caring for their own calves, Betty Lou is especially protective, and zoo staff are making sure that she and her calf are introduced safely into the group.

Michael, the father of the two calves, is separated from the young calves for now by a baby fence, simply because he is so large. “The calves need to get a little bigger, a little smarter and learn how to be giraffes,” says Sheri Horiszny, director of Animal Programs. 

See photos of Dane below.



Photo credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

See the calves' debut on exhibit:

Masai giraffes are the largest subspecies of giraffe, growing up to eighteen feet tall and weighing up to 2,700 pounds. Recently, Masai giraffe populations have begun to decline in the wild. Santa Barabara exhibits Masai giraffes as a part of a regional giraffe management program with other West Coast zoos. This programs allows the zoos to breed healthy giraffes, maintaining genetic diversity while minimizing the distance giraffes have to be transported. The calves' father, Michael, is a particularly valuable asset to the program. Because of this, the two calves may eventually be transported to other zoos as a part of the breeding program, but will stay at Santa Barabara Zoo until they are about two years old. 

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Meet Willow the Rothschild Giraffe

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Lion Country Safari of West Palm Beach, Florida, welcomed its second giraffe calf of the year. The baby, named Willow, was born overnight on March 22nd. The female calf was exceptionally tall at birth, standing 6-foot 3-inches tall and weighing 174 pounds. 

Willow and her mom, both Rothschild Giraffes, are separated from the herd in a maternity pen to allow bonding time. They will join the rest of the herd in about three months. 

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Photo Credits: Lion Country Safari Park
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Rare Rothschild's Giraffe Born at Chester Zoo


Keepers and conservationists at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare Rothschild's Giraffe calf - the world’s most endangered subspecies of Giraffe.  The female calf was born on March 25 to first-time mother Orla after a 14 ½ month pregnancy.  Rothschild’s Giraffes are distinguished by broader dividing white lines and have no spots below the knees.

Despite being just a few days old, the six-foot-tall youngster, named Millie, is already towering over zoo keepers.



Photo Credits:  Chester Zoo

“For a first time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far.  Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after,” said Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals Tim Rowlands.  “Rothschild's Giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programs in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”

According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild's Giraffes left in the wild, with the population declining by more than 80% in the last ten years.  Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s Giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.  These elegant mammals are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Chester Zoo supports important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild's Giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.

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Houston Zoo's Baby Masai Giraffe Named After Yao Ming

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The newest and tallest addition to the Houston Zoo is a male Masai Giraffe, born to 5-year-old mom Neema and 6-year old dad Mtembei early on February 25, after a 14-month gestation. The calf weighs 139 pounds (62 kilos), and stands 74 inches tall (1.87 m). “The calf was standing on his own a little over an hour after he was born and was nursing about 4 hours later,” said Hoofed Stock Supervisor John Register. 

The calf has been named Yao by the keepers who cared for Neema through her pregnancy, in honor of former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming. Working with the conservation organization WildAid, Yao Ming has led the world’s largest conservation awareness program spotlighting illegal elephant and rhino poaching in Africa and the shark fin trade in Asia. Yao toured the Zoo’s Giraffe, Rhino and Elephant exhibits on February 14. You can read more about that and his efforts for conservation on the Houston Zoo’s website.

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Bledsoe-Adams/Houston Zoo

While Masai Giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are only about 100 of the species living in 24 North American zoos. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal.  Males average 17 feet in height and can weigh up to 2,500 pounds.  Female Masai giraffes typically reach a height of 14 feet.  At birth, Masai giraffes weigh between 125 and 150 pounds and stand approximately 6 feet tall.

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Zoo Berlin Welcomes Baby Giraffe

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It’s been four years since a Giraffe was born at Zoo Berlin, so the arrival of a male baby to 10-year-old female Kibaya on February 26 was cause for celebration.

Zoo keepers estimate the baby’s height at 72 inches (1.85 meters) and its weight at 220 pounds (100 kg) – a relatively large newborn, even for a bull calf.


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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

The zoo’s historic Antelope and Giraffe house was closed for a few days to let the newborn gain strength and bond with his mother.  The baby’s arrival brings the total number of Giraffes in the zoo’s herd to four.

Though he’s already big compared to other zoo babies, this little Giraffe still has a lot of growing to do before he reaches maturity.  He’ll spend an entire year nursing from his mother, with tastes of hay and solid foods being introduced within the first few months.  

Odense Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe


Denmark’s Odense Zoo enjoyed a mid-winter boost when a Giraffe calf was born on February 20. The female baby weighs 132 pounds (60 kg) and stands about five-and-a-half feet (170 cm) tall.   


Photo Credit:  Odense Zoo

The Odense Zoo staff eagerly awaited the arrival of this little calf.  The calf’s mother and father are both first-time parents, but they’ve adjusted well to their new roles.  With this most recent baby, the zoo now has seven Giraffes, including two other calves born since 2011 when a new African exhibit opened at the zoo. 

Giraffes are the world’s tallest land animals, well adapted for foraging in the treetops on savannahs south of Africa’s Sahara desert.  Acacia leaves are among their favorites, despite formidable thorns on the trees’ branches.  Giraffes strip the leaves from the branches with their 18-inch-long tongue.

Giraffes gather in loose groups on the savannah, providing a distinct advantage for each individual:  many pairs of eyes can survey the area for potential threats, such as lions. 

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