A new baby Masai giraffe was born on Monday, January 11, 2010, to 22-year-old mother Mariah. This calf is the 20th giraffe to be born in the Louisville Zoo’s 40 year history. A naming contest is planned and details will be announced at a later date.
At 1 p.m., 22-year-old Mariah gave birth to her ninth offspring—a 130-pound, 5-foot-10-inch male. The baby dropped 6-feet to the ground from his mother, who gave birth standing up. He stood for the first time at 1:51 p.m. and began to nurse at 4 p.m.
“It’s exciting to see this independent, precocious little calf already up running and playing. He is so steady on his feet—he stood faster than any giraffe calf I have ever seen,” said Louisville Zoo Assistant Mammal Curator Candy McMahan who has worked with giraffes for 26 years. “And Mariah is an excellent mother. She is very nurturing and attentive.”
The Louisville Zoo has had a successful giraffe breeding program over the years and this calf is the 20th giraffe to be born in the Zoo’s 40 year history.
The planned birth was a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Masai giraffe Population Management Plan (PMP), a cooperative animal management program that identifies population management goals and recommendations that will ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied population.
A naming contest is planned and details will be announced at a later date.
Baby and mom are currently off exhibit in their warm indoor bedroom. A date has not been set when they will be viewable by visitors. Those who are interested can see pictures and follow the baby’s progress on the Zoo’s website.
Bakari (pronounced bah-KAH-ree), which means hopeful, was the last Masai giraffe baby born at the Louisville Zoo. Born February 17, 2009, Bakari survived many difficulties including obtaining life-saving plasma transfers and fluids at birth and a surgical procedure to correct his angular limb deformity. He is now doing well and has wonderful mobility, playing and running at top speeds.