Giraffe

Say Hello to Houston Zoo's Giraffe Calf

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A male Masai Giraffe calf born at the Houston Zoo on February 4 was standing and nursing just over an hour after his birth – all signs that point to a healthy and strong baby.

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Photo Credit:  Houston Zoo

The calf was born to female Giraffe Tyra after a 14-month gestation.  “Tyra went into labor at approximately 10:45 AM on Tuesday, February 4 and delivered her baby boy at 12:49 PM,” said Houston Zoo Giraffe Senior Keeper Kim Siegl.  “The calf was standing on his own by 1:17 PM and was nursing by 1:57 PM.”

As soon as Tyra gave birth, she began grooming her calf while he was lying down. Once the calf was on his feet, Tyra was even more attentive. The rest of the Giraffe herd stood by, watching as mother and calf got to know each other.

“The calf weighs 165 pounds and is six and a half feet tall. He’s a big healthy boy,” said Siegl.  This is the eighth calf for 15-year-old Tyra.  The calf’s father, Mtembei, is six years old.  With this new arrival, the Houston Zoo’s herd of Masai Giraffe has grown to nine.

The Giraffe keepers who cared for Tyra during her pregnancy and were present for the birth will have the honor of naming the newest addition to the Houston Zoo’s Giraffe herd.

About 100 Masai Giraffes currently live in 28 North American zoos.  The tallest living land animal, Giraffes can stand up to 17 feet tall and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.


Paignton Zoo Welcomes a Giraffe Calf

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo in the UK! The female calf was born to mother Sangha and father Yoda on the afternoon of January 25.

“She was born during the day, which is unusual but not unheard of. Giraffes mostly give birth overnight,” said Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment. 

The yet unnamed calf is doing well and stands nearly six feet tall.

The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. Mothers give birth standing up – the calf's fall to the ground breaks the umbilical cord. The little calf's head is protect by small, knoby horns. Calves can stand and run within a few hours of birth. 

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See a video of the birth:

 

Paignton Zoo's giraffes are a subspecies called the Rothschild or Baringo Giraffe. Rothschild's Giraffes are classified as Endangered, and their breeding across European zoos is managed by a European Endangered Species Program. 

Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born in November 2004. He arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2006. Sangha came from Liberec Zoo in Slovakia. The Zoo’s other female is Janica, who came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The other youngsters at the zoo are Valentino, born to mother Janica in February 2012 and Otilie, who was born to mother Sangha in September 2012. A male calf was born in August 2013 to Janica and Yoda, but sadly, he died soon afterwards.


Baby Giraffe Groomed for Introductions

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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.  


Giraffe Mom and Calf Bond at Nashville Zoo

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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.”

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Photo credit: Nashville Zoo / Amiee Stubbs

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.


It's a Girl! Whipsnade Zoo Welcomes a Giraffe Calf

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At just four weeks old, the newest arrival of the Zoological Society of London's Whipsnade Zoo is already standing tall – at almost six feet (1.83 m)!

The Reticulated Giraffe, a baby girl, was born to proud parents Savannah and Uno on November 13. Thrilled zookeepers arrived just in time to see the calf take her first wobbly steps an hour after birth, and start to suckle soon after that.

Zookeeper Cassie Taylor said, “Savannah was born at Whipsnade 12 years ago, so it’s fantastic to see her as a mum herself now, and even more special that we were able to see the calf’s very first moments.

“It’s Savannah’s third calf and she’s  taken motherhood all in her rather long stride – the new arrival is settling in well, and is already showing signs of mum’s calm nature as well as dad’s inquisitiveness.”

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The calf, who will be named by zoo visitors, has spent the first few weeks getting to grips with her long legs as she explores her new home – the zoo’s brand new Giraffe Heights enclosure. Unveiled in October, it includes a revamped barn to keep the new arrival extra warm and snug, and a nine-foot-high viewing platform which brings visitors face-to-face with Whipsnade’s Giraffes.

Over the next few weeks, the calf will slowly be introduced to the rest of the herd, including half-brother Jengo, aged one, and aunties, Ijuma and Ina. 

Whipsnade Zoo’s new arrival is an important part of the European Endangered Species Programme for Reticulated Giraffes. In the wild, Reticulated Giraffes are confined to north-eastern Kenya, eastern Sudan and Eritrea and it is thought there could be less than 5,000 left due to poaching and habitat degradation. 

See and learn more after the fold!

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Giraffe Calf is a Record-Setter at Zoo Praha

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Kleopatra the Giraffe has tied a record at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Praha:  she delivered her 11th calf on the evening of October 9.

Zoo Praha has an impressive history of breeding these gentle giants:  The female calf is the 79th Giraffe calf to be born at the zoo.

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Photo Credit: Tomáš Adamec, Zoo Praha

According to the zoo staff, the baby stood soon after the delivery, which is an important milestone in the development of a newborn calf.  Giraffe calves typically stand within an hour of birth, and they nurse shortly afterward.  This survival skill is important to a calf born on the African savannah.  If they can’t follow the herd, they could fall prey to hungry lions or hyenas. 

After the exertion of learning to stand, calves often curl up and rest, with mom standing watch close by. 

 

Giraffe Calf Meets the Family at Oklahoma City Zoo

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The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating a special fall delivery—a female giraffe born on September 26! The newborn is the sister of Sergeant Peppers, a male giraffe born in January 2012 to zoo favorites Ellie and Bogy.  Another sister, Keyara, was born at the Zoo in January 2010. The new arrival, who already stands six feet tall, will be named by her caregivers. The calf is pictured above with her brother, during her first day outside on October 1, as mom Ellie looks on. 

“Both mom and calf are doing well,” said Jaimee Flinchbaugh, the zoo's hoofstock supervisor. “Ellie is a doting mom and her calf is full of energy, personality and spunk.”

Average gestation for a Giraffe calf is approximately 15 months. Giraffes give birth while standing and unlike humans, the calf is born hooves-first. The calf then proceeds to stand, usually within one hour after birth. In the wild, it is important for a newborn Giraffe to be able to stand quickly to elude predators. 

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6 giraffePhoto credits: Jaimee Flinchbaugh / Oklahoma City Zoo

Depending on weather conditions, zoo guests may be able to see the calf mid- morning through early afternoon hours. The zoo’s twice-a-day public Giraffe feeding opportunities will continue, weather permitting. However, mom Ellie will not be participating until her caregivers believe she is comfortable with the feeding platform area and crowds.


Baby Giraffe Gets a Super-Sized Smooch at Zoo Budapest

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Sempala the Rothschild’s Giraffe calf has been getting plenty of super-sized kisses from her mother since she was born on August 13 at the Budapest Zoo.  The spindly female calf is already a fan favorite and seems to have a penchant for making funny faces for the camera!

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Photo Credit:  Budapest Zoo

Zoo keepers chose a Ugandan name for Sempala because Rothschild’s Giraffes are found in that African country, as well as in Kenya.  Rothschild’s giraffes are among the rarest of the nine Giraffe subspecies roaming Africa.  Only about 700 remain in the wild.  They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of Sempala below the fold.

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Giraffe Calf Enters The World With Keepers' Assistance

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On July 7, Sao Paulo Zoo welcomed a baby that was over six feet (1.85 meters) tall: a giraffe, of course! The calf is a healthy male, born to parents Mel ('Honey') and Palito ('Stick'). The delivery started around midnight, when security staff noticed and called in the vets, biologists and keepers. Because the mother was having difficulties in delivering, the vets decided to assist by tying a rope to Mel's front legs and pulling. 

Giraffe Keeper, Laurindo, who has worked at Sao Paulo Zoo for 33 years, says he has never seen such a strong and healthy baby giraffe. Within his first two weeks, the calf was already looking for things to eat, and hopping and kicking with energy. The zoo has a tradition in breeding this species: this is their 24th giraffe born since their first in 1977.

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Photo Credits: Sao Paul Zoo / Carlos Nader (1, 2, 4 through 10); Juliana Tolentino (3)

See a video of the calf below:

 

See and read more after the fold!

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The zoo and a major weekly magazine in Brazil promoted a public vote to choose his name based on ten names that were chosen by the zoo staff. The calf is now called Girafales, the name of a character in a Mexican TV show that is very famous in Brazil, and alludes back to the species name.


Seattle's Tallest Baby Born at Woodland Park Zoo

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Few species can boast a 6-foot tall week-old infant, but the Rothschild's Giraffe is certainly one of them! Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo welcomed the addition of a towering Rothschild's Giraffe calf on the evening of August 6. Born to first time mom Olivia, the calf was already 5 and a half feet tall at birth. The calf, who is male, can expect to grow to between 16-18 feet by the time he reaches adulthood.

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The calf and its mother are off view in a barn to allow a quet environment for maternal bonding and nursing. Giraffe's have a 14- to 15- month gestation period, which allows for calves to grown so large in size. Mom's give birth standing up, and calves are typically able to stand within a few hours of birth.. “The first 24 to 72 hours are critical for giraffe calves,” said zoo curator Martin Ramirez. “So far, mother and calf are bonding and nursing sessions appear to be normal. We will continue to keep a close eye on the new family over the next several weeks.”

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Olivia and the calf's father, Chioke, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, which ensures genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos. The natural population of giraffes has declined by more thant 40% over the past 15 years. Among the 9 subspecies of Giraffes, West African and Rothschild's are endangered. Fewer than 670 individuals of Rothschild's Giraffes remain in the wild.

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Continue reading "Seattle's Tallest Baby Born at Woodland Park Zoo" »