This leggy little girl was born overnight and was standing and alert when the keepers entered the giraffe barn on the morning of August 15. At birth, the calf was approximately 5' 6" tall and 119 lbs. Now, at 1 month, she is nearly 6' tall and 177 lbs. See her now at South Carolina's Riverbanks Zoo.
First-time mom, Krissy, did not take to mothering her newborn. As a result, the keepers at Riverbanks stepped in to play mom, caring for and feeding the giraffe calf. Currently, she is fed every four hours from 6am until 10pm, receives 8.5 liters of milk each day and also has access to hay and browse. In addition, she has been introduced to small amounts of produce, such as apple pieces and carrots along with some grain.
“The keepers have done an excellent job in hand-rearing the young giraffe,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “It is because of their commitment to her success that she is thriving today.”
While the baby is the first offspring for Krissy, she marks number two for dad, Charlie. Lewis, the male calf born at Riverbanks in February 2009, was his first. At 7 months, Lewis now towers over his keepers – he is 8 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at a sturdy 595 pounds.
Currently, the baby girl is without a name. The naming rights for Riverbanks’ newest giraffe will be auctioned off at Riverbanks ZOOfari – the Zoo’s premier fundraiser – scheduled for October 3.
Visitors to Riverbanks can see the calf on exhibit from 9:30am to about 1:30pm. Later in the afternoon she retires to the barn for an afternoon nap.
Riverbanks participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Population Management Plan (PMP) for reticulated giraffe. A PMP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species in North American zoos and aquariums that are accredited by the AZA. Each PMP manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.