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Baby Giraffe Groomed for Introductions

1 giraffePhoto credit: San Diego Zoo

On December 31, a 10-day-old female Masai Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo took her first venture around her exhibit, meeting other members of her herd and running, kicking and appearing very comfortable with her new surroundings. The calf was born in the early hours of December 22 and, until today, has been in a restricted 'playpen' area of the habitat until animal care staff felt she was old enough to venture into the larger space. 

Mom, Bahati, introduced her new calf to the rest of the herd, after tenderly grooming her to make sure she was presentable enough to meet the rest of the family. 

Keepers report the calf is healthy and progressing very well, even though she is still getting used to her legs, as evidenced by a few spills taken during her morning run. She measured 6 feet 1 inch tall (185.4 cm) and weighed 157 pounds (71 kg) at birth. She may weigh as much as 500 pounds (227 kg) and stand up to seven-and-a-half-feet tall (229 cm) by the time she is six months old. 

Masai Giraffes are native to Africa and are threatened in some areas. Also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, the Masai Giraffe is the largest Giraffe subspecies and tallest land mammal on Earth.  

This is the tenth calf born to mother, Bahati; the father is the herd sire, Silver.  Other Giraffes in the herd include two adult females and a female youngster born last May. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can see the active and curious Giraffe calf, yet to be named, on exhibit in the Urban Jungle.