Giraffe Calf Is Tallest Born at Brevard Zoo
March 30, 2016
Standing at 6’4”, Brevard Zoo’s newest addition is the tallest Masai Giraffe ever born at the facility.
After a gestation period lasting more than a year, 14-year-old Milenna gave birth to the male calf early on March 7.
The little one is the second Giraffe born at the Florida zoo in under four months. A female, who has yet to be named, was born to Johari on November 29, 2015. Seventeen-year-old Rafiki is the father of both calves.
“Our team conducted a neonatal exam on Tuesday afternoon [March 8] and everything looks good so far,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “He’s very energetic, which is always a positive sign.”
The calf is not expected to make its public debut for several weeks while he bonds with his mother behind the scenes. In the meantime, the public is encouraged to monitor Brevard Zoo’s social media channels for updates.
The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is divided into nine subspecies. There are three subspecies most commonly found in zoological facilities: Reticulated, Rothschild, and Masai.
Of the Brevard Zoo’s seven Giraffes, six belong to the Masai subspecies. The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies and tallest land mammal. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.
According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Masai may be the most populous of the Giraffe subspecies. There is an estimated fewer than 37,000 remaining in the wild, (though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less) and approximately 100 individuals kept in zoos.
Habitat loss, poaching, disease and civil unrest pose the most significant threats to wild giraffe.