Busch Gardens Tampa Bay guests got their first look at two new baby reticulated giraffes this week as the babies were introduced to the rest of the herd on the Serengeti Plain for the first time. The first was born on April 6 and was the fourth calf for mother Tesa. The second was born April 24, and is the first calf for mother Chloe. Both are males sired by father Sterling.
For the first few months of life, Busch Gardens’ giraffe babies and their mothers are sheltered in an area out of guest view so they can be closely monitored by zoo staff to ensure the baby is nursing and growing properly. Now that they have been introduced to the park’s other giraffes, the herd numbers 17 giraffe total. It is common for other members of the giraffe family to become involved with the care of newborns.
A giraffe’s gestation period is approximately 15 months, and the new babies will nurse for about one year. These births are part of a successful long-term breeding program at Busch Gardens.
Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain is a naturalistic habitat featuring a diverse population of free-roaming African animals including giraffe, zebra, white rhinoceros, eland antelope and several other species of hoof stock and birds.
You can view these amazing animals from the Serengeti Express or on a Serengeti Safari, an open-truck tour of the plain during which you can hand-feed the reticulated giraffe. (The term “reticulated” refers to the giraffe’s net-like pattern of spots.)