After more than a year of waiting, Autumn, the Greenville Zoo's 6-year-old Masai giraffe, delivered her first calf, just before midnight exactly one week ago, on October 22. Walter, the baby's proud father, looked on, and Zoo officials said nearly one million viewers watched the live-stream of the birth with him -- including people from as far away as Australia and Japan. Many fans said they lost sleep so they wouldn't miss the birth. Giraffes most typically give birth in the morning, so Autumn caught even some experts off-guard with her near midnight delivery.
Giraffe births can sometimes take hours, but once she got started late Monday night, Autumn delivered quickly. The calf was very still for several minutes after birth, but in less than half an hour, it was struggling to get to its feet. It succeeded in standing and taking its first steps within an hour. The Zoo conducted the neonatal exam Wednesday and announced that it's a boy. Staff selected the name Kiko, meaning autumn's child.
Giraffe births are unusual in that they give birth while standing and the baby is born hooves-first. Giraffes are also one of the few animals born with horns on their heads.
Autumn and her mate are on a breeding loan. As part of the loan, Autumn came to the Greenville Zoo from the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston in 2007 to be paired with the zoo’s male giraffe, Walter, 7, from the San Diego Zoo.
Kiko went out on exhibit within three days and enjoyed his day outside. Hevhad a nap in the sunshine and took his time following mom back inside when day was done. To get a great birds eye view of mom and baby behind the scenes, 24/7, tune in to their live Giraffe cam.