At six feet and 152 pounds, the newest resident at Brevard Zoo, in Melbourne, Florida, is a bit larger than most babies (or fully-grown humans, for that matter). After a 15-month gestation period, mother Johari gave birth to the female Masai Giraffe calf on November 29.
The newborn is not expected to make its public debut for several weeks while she bonds with her mother behind the scenes. In the meantime, the public is encouraged to monitor the Zoo’s social media channels for updates.
“Mom and baby are both doing very well,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal Programs at the Zoo. “We’re keeping a very close eye on them, which is critically important in the early stages of life.”
Although this is the Zoo’s eighth Giraffe birth, these charismatic mammals are not faring as well in the wild due to habitat loss and civil unrest. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, their numbers have declined by more than 40% since 1998.
The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is divided into nine subspecies. There are three subspecies most commonly found in zoological facilities: Reticulated, Rothschild, and Masai.
The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies and tallest land mammal. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.