Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Welcomes 198th Giraffe Calf

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado welcomed the latest addition to their Reticulated Giraffe herd, a female calf born Thursday morning, August 1. The calf is four-year-old Msitu’s (pronounced mi-see-TOO) first offspring and is the second calf to be sired by the Zoo’s five-year-old bull giraffe, Khalid (pronounced cull-EED). Mother and newborn are doing well. Following Cheyenne Mountain Zoo tradition, the calf will be named after she is 30 days old.

“Watching a giraffe birth is amazing and startling all at the same time,” says Amy Schilz, lead animal keeper for giraffes and lions. “Giraffes give birth standing up, so their baby enters the world with a six foot fall to the ground. They need that fall to stimulate them to start breathing, but it still makes you hold your breath when they drop.”

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Photo credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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A Speedy Giraffe Delivery at Auckland Zoo

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Auckland Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its 31st giraffe calf:  a 5.5 foot (1.7 m) female, delivered in record time to 12-year-old giraffe mum, Rukiya. The fifth offspring for Rukiya and 13-year-old dad Zabulu was born at 11:10 am on August 3, following a labour of less than three hours - Rukiya's fastest delivery to date.

The yet-to-named calf was standing within half an hour, with experienced mum Rukiya taking it all in her stride as she demonstrated her exceptional mothering skills. This included having her newborn successfully suckle from her the minute it could stand, something keeping staff have not seen at any other giraffe birth.

"Rukiya really took us by surprise this time. She was incredibly relaxed the day before the birth and right up until she started going into labour, and gave us none of the usual and obvious signs she was ready for action.  She also stayed amazingly calm throughout the labour - which was significantly shorter than her others and by far the easiest and most relaxed," says Pridelands keeper, Kathryn McKee, who has been present for all five of Rukiya's births.

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Photo credits: Kathrin Simon / Auckland Zoo

Watch a video of the birth below:


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Help Name Disney's Giraffe Calf

Photo Credit:  Disney's Animal Kingdom

A male Masai Giraffe calf born earlier this month at Disney's Animal Kingdom needs a name!  The park invites everyone to vote through July 31 and help the staff choose a name for the baby, which is the first Masai Giraffe calf born at the park.

Masai Giraffes are unique among the nine subspecies of Giraffe found in Africa.  The dark brown patches on Masai Giraffes’ coats have jagged edges.  About 40,000 Masai Giraffes live in Kenya and Tanzania.  Giraffes are threatened by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as human populations encroach on their native range. 

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund supports conservation programs around the world, including efforts to reintroduce endangered Rothschild’s Giraffes into Kenya. 

Giraffe Calf Stands Tall at Knuthenborg Park


In the late hours of June 27th, Knuthenborg Park in Denmark welcomed a new female Giraffe calf, named Damisi. Damisi was born to mother Dora and father Timon, who also have a second two-year-old calf.


Damisi's birth was no small feat. During 5 long hours of calving, park staff worried that Dora would need assistance in birthing Damisi. The keepers try not to interfere with births whenever possible. Luckily, Dora pulled through and was able to deliver the calf naturally. 


Since Giraffes spend 14 months in the womb, newborns are often around 6 feet tall. Though this may seem large for most species (especially humans!), calves are still about a third the size of adults.




Photo credit: Knuthenborg Park

Two Giraffes Born in One Week at Zoo Praha

Male by Tomas Adamec (1)

Two Rothschild’s Giraffe calves were born in a single week at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Praha.  Nora delivered a male calf on June 30, and Elizabeth gave birth to a female calf, named Amelia, on July 7.  The two are the 77th and 78th giraffes born at Zoo Praha.  Both calves were sired by bull Giraffe Johan.

Male by Tomas Adamec (2)

Male by Tomas Adamec (3)

Female by Martin PEkarek, Flash (3)
Photo Credits: Tomáš Adamec, Prague Zoo (male calf 1, 2, 3); Martin Pekarak, Flash (female calf 4, 5, 6, 7)

Nora is a calm and experienced mother and is taking excellent care of her energetic calf.  Zoo keepers describe the calf as extremely confident.

Little Amelia is the seventh calf for Elizabeth.  According to zoo keepers, the birth went quickly and Elizabeth immediately began cleaning her baby and tried to help her stand.  They say that Amelia is calm and curious like her mother.

Rothschild’s Giraffes are one of the most endangered of the nine Giraffe subspecies, with only a few hundred individuals remaining in the wilds of Kenya and Uganda. 

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It's a Boy! Second Giraffe Calf in Eight Months Born at Brookfield Zoo

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Jasiri, a 7½-year-old Giraffe at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, gave birth to a male calf on June 21. The first-time mom had the baby outside in an off-exhibit area. Soon after being born, the 173-pound, 5-foot-9-inch-tall calf stood, and was nursing not long after that. This calf is the 59th Giraffe born at Brookfield Zoo. Following a 14½-month gestation period, mother Giraffes give birth while standing. When fully grown, the new calf can potentially reach 18 feet tall.

Giraffe numbers have declined by 40 percent in the last decade, and there are now fewer than 80,000 individuals in Africa. There are fewer than 5,000 Reticulated Giraffes left in East Africa. Additionally, of the nine subspecies of Giraffes in Africa, two—the West African Giraffe and the Rothschild’s Giraffe—are classified as endangered, with less than 250 and 670 individuals, respectively, remaining in the wild. The populations are declining due to a number of factors, including habitat loss and fragmentation, coupled with human population growth and illegal hunting.

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Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo


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Prematurely Born Giraffe Calf Getting Stronger at Zoo Brno

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This baby is a fighter! Born prematurely just over a week ago at Zoo Brno, this Reticulated Giraffe calf came into the world frail and weak. Though it began to suckle from its mother, it was not able to feed very well. It is vitally important that a calf get enough colostrum through the milk right away to develop its immune system. But under the constant supervision of its keepers and zoo veterinarians, the baby has gotten stronger, and the zoo can report the calf is slowly growing.

So much so, that Mom Tosha and the baby stepped out into the yard to get a healthy dose of sunshine in rear garden within the Giraffe yard!

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Photo Credit: ZooBrno

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males can average 19 feet (5.8 m) tall and weigh between 2,400 and 4,250 pounds (1,089-1,920 kg). Females measure up to 17 feet (5.2 m) tall and weigh between 1,540 and 2,600 pounds (698-1,179 kg). Much of the height is due to their long neck, which can be 8 feet (2.5 m) in length and can weigh almost 500 pounds - yet it's made up of only 7 bones, the same number as we have in our own. The little horns or cones on the top of their heads are used for sparring between males. Giraffe spots are as unique to each animal as our finger prints are to us. 

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Giraffe Calf Explores the Savanna at San Francisco Zoo


San Francisco Zoo welcomed a healthy female Reticulated Giraffe calf early in the morning of May 22nd. At birth, the calf was 130 pounds and 5’10” tall. Animal keepers report that the new calf has had positive interaction with the adult giraffe group and “has a lot of spunk.”


The calf's mother Kristin, an 11-year old Giraffe born at Busch Gardens in Tampa, has already given birth to three other calves. During this pregnancy the Zoo completed its first successful awake ultrasounds, which enabled animal staff to monitor the health of the fetus. “We are very excited about this birth,” said Jim Nappi, Curator of Hoofstock and Marsupials at the San Francisco Zoo. “Giraffes add a special majesty to our multi-species African Savanna exhibit. Their successful breeding means that our Zoo-wide Wellness Initiative is working as it should be; and when the animals are thriving, we are happy.”


Growing up to 18 feet tall, Giraffes are the tallest living land mammals. Males weigh up to 4,000 pounds with females weighing up to 2,600 pounds. The Reticulated Giraffe is characterized by its distinct "reticulated" grid-like pattern of narrow white lines and dark brown coloring. They are found throughout various regions of Africa.



Got Legs? There's a New Baby Giraffe at Budapest Zoo

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A baby Rothschild Giraffe was born just after dawn at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 25. ViItal and healthy, the 5' 6" (17o cm) tall baby was determined to be a female and will be introduced to the public in just a few days. Her six-year-old mother Sandra was born in Prague Zoo in 2007. Naturally, this baby is the first for Sandra, but the 28th for the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also called the Baringo Giraffe. This is an Endangered subspecies of giraffes, but it is the most common in European Zoos.

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Photo Credit: Budapest Zoo

Watch this four minute, at times high-speed summary of the baby's birth, which happened in the wee hours of the morning:

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Santa Barbara Zoo Welcomes Two Masai Giraffe Calves


It's been an exciting two weeks for Santa Barbara Zoo, with two Masai giraffe calves born within ten days of each other! Five year-old Audrey gave birth to the first calf, a male named Dane, on April 18th. On April 28th, five year-old Betty Lou gave birth to a female, Sunshine. Both calves are healthy and under their mothers' care. Dane is six feet three inches tall and weighs 156 pounds. Slightly smaller, Sunshine stands six feet tall and weighs 133 pounds.

The mother-calf pairs will be rotated on and off exhibit, to allow them time to bond behind-the-scenes in a quiet barn. While both mothers are attentively caring for their own calves, Betty Lou is especially protective, and zoo staff are making sure that she and her calf are introduced safely into the group.

Michael, the father of the two calves, is separated from the young calves for now by a baby fence, simply because he is so large. “The calves need to get a little bigger, a little smarter and learn how to be giraffes,” says Sheri Horiszny, director of Animal Programs. 

See photos of Dane below.



Photo credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

See the calves' debut on exhibit:

Masai giraffes are the largest subspecies of giraffe, growing up to eighteen feet tall and weighing up to 2,700 pounds. Recently, Masai giraffe populations have begun to decline in the wild. Santa Barabara exhibits Masai giraffes as a part of a regional giraffe management program with other West Coast zoos. This programs allows the zoos to breed healthy giraffes, maintaining genetic diversity while minimizing the distance giraffes have to be transported. The calves' father, Michael, is a particularly valuable asset to the program. Because of this, the two calves may eventually be transported to other zoos as a part of the breeding program, but will stay at Santa Barabara Zoo until they are about two years old. 

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