Nashville Zoo in Tennessee has announced the birth of a female Masai giraffe. The calf was born in the early morning hours of December 13, weighing 180 pounds (81.65 kg) and standing 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) tall. She and mom Margarita are doing well in the zoo’s Giraffe barn.
“We’ve been tracking Margarita’s pregnancy for about a year and estimated her due date to be in early December,” said Kate Cortelyou, lead Giraffe keeper. “I arrived at the Giraffe barn around 7:30 a.m. [on Dec. 13] to find a dry, healthy, standing baby Giraffe, which is the perfect way to find them. We are so thrilled about the latest addition to our herd.”
This is nine-year-old Margarita’s third calf. Her first was born in 2010, and the second, a female named Camilla, was born in 2012 and recently left Nashville to join her permanent herd at the Columbus Zoo. With the addition of the calf, Nashville Zoo is home to two subspecies: three Masai Giraffe and one Reticulated Giraffe. Zoo officials will carefully monitor the baby’s development inside the Giraffe barn for the next two months. After that, keepers will make a decision on her public debut depending on climatic conditions.
Masai Giraffe are one of nine different sub-species and are known for their oak-leaf shaped spot pattern. They are native to the savannas of Kenya and Tanzania.