Hi, Mom! Baby Giraffe Born at Dickerson Park Zoo

A baby Giraffe was born on exhibit at the Dickerson Park Zoo on May 19 while zoo staff and curious visitors looked on.  These photos were taken in the first hours after the birth.

IMG_9651-medPhoto Credit:  Dickerson Park Zoo

The calf, whose gender has not been confirmed and who has not yet been named, appears healthy.  The calf met two important milestones – standing and nursing – within two hours of birth. 

This is the 12th calf for 21-year-old Gidget.  As an experienced mother, Gidget immediately began licking her calf clean after the birth.  Like most Giraffe calves, this newborn is about six feet tall.

Giraffes are pregnant for 14-15 months and give birth standing up.  Calves drop about six feet to the ground and begin trying to stand shortly afterward.  In the wild, it is important for calves to stand and walk as soon as possible to avoid becoming prey for lions or hyenas.  

Rothschild Giraffe Calf Bonds with Mom at Dublin Zoo

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Dublin Zoo in Ireland is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe, born on May 7. The yet unnamed calf stands tall at five feet seven inches (1.7 m) and weighs an estimated 150 pounds (70 kg). He was born to experienced parents Maeve and Robin, and joins a herd of eight giraffes at Dublin Zoo. 

The successful birth of this calf is wonderful news as the Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most threatened subspecies of giraffe. 

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5 giraffePhoto credit: Patrick Bolger / Dublin Zoo

With only a few hundred left in the wild, Rothschild Giraffes (also known as the Baringo Giraffe or the Ugandan Giraffe) are close to meeting the International Union for Conservation of Nature's threshold as Critically Endangered. According the to The Rothschild's Giraffe Project, fewer than 670 individuals remain in the the wild today, in 13 small populations in Uganda and Kenya. They are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. 

Rothschild Giraffes can be identified by their slightly jagged and more lightly colored spot pattern, and by their light, unmarked legs below the knees. 

See more photos after the fold.

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Masai Giraffe Calf Tumbles into the World

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On April 14, Jamala, a 16 year-old Masai Giraffe gave birth to a calf at Safari West in California. The  gangly, six foot (1.8 m) male calf weighs about 120 pounds (54 kg) and has been named Phoenix. He’s gentle, playful and full of spirit! He was born on the eve of the total lunar eclipse, making the birth all the more unique and exciting for the zoo.  

This is the third calf for father, 11-year-old Tufani, and Jamala’s fourth baby. The Masai Giraffe, also known as the Maasai Giraffe or Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal. They are typically the darkest of the subspecies.

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Photo credit: Safari West

A leg first emerged at approximately 9am. His head was visible at 9:30am. Typical of giraffes, his life started with a six foot plunge. He was born at 10am and stood at 10:30am. The calf nursed soon after standing. MaThe baby will soon be out with the other giraffes, playing together and chasing the cranes or just having fun like giraffes do. This makes the twenty-seventh baby giraffe born at Safari West and the third Masai Giraffe baby.

There are only one hundred Masai Giraffes in North America in just 20 different locations, as recorded by According to the International Species Information system. According to the Giraffe Conservation Organization, Masai Giraffes may be the most populous of the sub-species with an estimated fewer than 40,000 remaining in the wild, though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less. 

See and read more after the fold. 

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Giraffe Born on Valentine's Day Has a Heart-shaped Spot


A baby Giraffe born on Valentine’s Day at Belgium’s Planckendael Zoo bears a very special birthmark – a heart-shaped spot on the haunches!

Photo Credit: Planckendael / Steffanie Klaassen

Zoo keepers knew that female Giraffe Barbie was about to give birth sometime around February 14, so they separated her from the herd and set up a closed-circuit camera to keep watch through the night.  Barbie is an experienced mother, having delivered three other calves, and the entire birth process went smoothly.  Zoo keepers were thrilled to see the newborn stand and begin nursing right on schedule.  Barbie licked her newborn clean as it stood on long, wobbly legs. 

The baby’s gender has not yet been confirmed, so zoo keepers have not yet named the calf.  All babies born at Planckendael in 2014 will have names beginning with the letter P, so zoo keepers are searching for beautiful African names that begin with P.

Barbie and her newborn will remain indoors for a few weeks until warmer temperatures arrive.  Planckendael participates in the European breeding program for Giraffes and supports in situ conservation efforts in Niger.

See more photos of the baby Giraffe below the fold.

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Say Hello to Houston Zoo's Giraffe Calf


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.



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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3 giraffePhoto credit: Paignton Zoo

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

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.  

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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6 giraffePhoto credit: Whipsnade Zoo

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

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.

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.