The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens recently welcomed a new addition. A female Reticulated Giraffe calf was born April 8 in the Bernard Osher Foundation Giraffe Barn.
Mother, Barbro, and her calf are in excellent condition, and the calf stood up and took her first steps within 30 minutes of birth. She’s already more than six-feet tall!
“It is such a special time when babies are born at the Zoo,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “You can’t help but fall in love with this calf the moment you see her. We are so fortunate to be able to share this exciting news with our community.”
The newest arrival joins six other giraffes in the herd. The calf, not yet named, has a two-year-old sister, Sarah. Dad, Floyd, has fathered a number of giraffes at the Zoo.
The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.
The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos.
A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs. at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth, and they are weaned at around one year of age.
In the wild, giraffes have few predators, but they are sometimes preyed upon by lions and less so by crocodiles and spotted hyenas. However, humans are a very real threat, and giraffes are often killed by poachers for their hair and skin.
Currently, there are thought to be less than 80,000 giraffes roaming Africa, and some subspecies are thought to be almost completely gone, with fewer than 100 individuals. Reticulated Giraffes are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.