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The staff at Franklin Park Zoo, in New England, is pleased to announce the birth of a female Masai Giraffe Calf!

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FranklinPark_GiraffeBaby_4Photo Credits: Amanda Giardina/Zoo New England (1,2,3,4,5); Sarah Woodruff (6,7,8,9,10,11)

After a labor and delivery that lasted about an hour, mother, ‘Jana’, gave birth to the female giraffe calf, on October 2nd, inside the Giraffe Barn. Within 40 minutes of birth, the calf was standing, and she was observed nursing about an hour and a half after birth.

The female calf had her first examination, the following day, by the Zoo’s veterinary staff. She weighed 160 pounds and stood at 6-feet tall.

The calf’s parents, ‘Beau’ and ‘Jana’, are very genetically valuable within the North American captive Masai Giraffe population. Since 2006, Beau and Jana have had five successful births, including the new calf. The pair are also grandparents as well, with offspring at zoos up and down the eastern United States.

“We are so thrilled to share the news of this exciting birth,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “Jana is an experienced mother and she is doing everything a mother giraffe should do. As with any new birth, we are continuing to monitor the mother and baby closely.”

Giraffes are more temperature sensitive than other savannah animals, and are kept indoors when temperatures drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  However, on October 8th, the new calf was able to enjoy a beautiful Boston day and explore the outdoor area with her mother!

Beau and Jana were bred as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Zoo New England is an active participant in this program. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species.

More info and great pics, below the fold!

Native to Kenya and Tanzania, the Masai Giraffe is currently classified as “Conservation Dependent” on the IUCN Red List. With its long legs and neck, the Masai Giraffe is the world’s tallest land mammal. The giraffe has a huge heart, comparable to a 25 pound basketball, which generates the high blood pressure necessary to maintain blood flow up to its brain. Males often engage in “necking”, which consists of swinging their necks to strike each other with the side of their heads to determine hierarchy or show affection. This roughhousing doesn’t cause physical harm, but when confronted by a predator, giraffes will kick with deadly force in order to escape.

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