Dickerson Park Zoo

Emma the Giraffe Has a New Baby

Springfield, MO –Dickerson Park Zoo is happy to announce Emma the giraffe had her baby sometime in the early morning hours on September 21, 2021.

Emma’s pregnancy was unexpected and considered high risk. The zoo’s animal care staff had been closely monitoring her as well as preparing for a potential C-section if necessary.


The calf was discovered early this morning when zoo staff arrived to check on Emma. The baby is up and walking, and both mother and baby appear to be doing well. At this time, the animal care team will continue to observe from a distance and allow mother and baby time to bond.

“We are grateful for all the well wishes when it was announced Emma was expecting and the pregnancy was high risk,” said zoo spokeswoman Joey Powell. “We were hopeful she would be able to go into labor and deliver on her own. Seeing both mom and baby up and moving this morning made a rainy day brighter.”

Dickerson Park Zoo is doing a gender and name reveal at 11 a.m. CST Friday, September 24 on Facebook live: https://www.facebook.com/DPZoo/

Photos by Zookeeper Christina Rizzo

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.  

Just Minutes Old, Baby Giraffe Stands for the First Time!

Giraffe 1

On September 18, while keepers and zoo guests watched in amazement, 19-year-old Cheka the Giraffe delivered a healthy female calf at Missouri's Dickerson Park Zoo.  Covered in dirt after her delivery and with the umbilicus visible on her belly, the six-and-a-half-foot tall baby Giraffe struggled to her feet and took her first wobbly steps within an hour of birth (see video).




The baby Giraffe was named Pammy J. or P.J. by zoo keepers and is the first calf sired by Peperuka, the zoo's bull Giraffe, who arrived in 2011.  Pammy J. is Cheka's ninth calf.  Three other female Giraffes at Dickerson Park Zoo are pregnant, and all are expected to deliver in the next three to four months. 

Giraffes give birth standing up.  The calf emerges front feet and nose first, then falls six or more feet to the ground.  The mother immediately begins licking the baby, cleaning it and stimulating the newborn to stand.  In Giraffes' native African home, it is important that calves stand and walk within an hour to avoid falling prey to a hungry lion. 

Photo Credit:  Dickerson Park Zoo