Watch Me Grow!
The Virginia Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a baby Masai giraffe on Thursday, July 23. The male giraffe calf, still nameless, was born to five-time mother Imara and father Billy. At birth, the calf weighed in at 152 pounds and measured in at 75 inches tall. Giraffes give birth standing up, so newborns get an abrupt introduction to the world by dropping up to 6 feet to the ground. The baby could stand and walk within the first few hours after birth.
Zoo staff is monitoring the baby’s health and will keep the public posted on the baby’s well-being. “We are keeping a close watch on mom and baby,” said Dr. Amanda Guthrie. “So far the baby looks healthy, Imara is an experienced and attentive mother and we’re optimistic that she’ll do a great job.”
Under the watchful eye of mother Imara, the baby giraffe will begin to explore his surroundings in the upcoming weeks. Mom and baby can be viewed by Zoo visitors at the indoor giraffe exhibit in Africa.
This birth is a significant contribution to the North American population of Masai Giraffe as there are only a little over 100 in North America. “This birth is important to the Species Survival Plan (SSP) as Billy, the father, is a genetically important male for the species,” comments Joseph Svoke, Zoological Manager. The Virginia Zoo is committed to these large and charismatic species from captive management to field conservation.
Zoo fans can keep an eye on the baby via live-feed video broadcasted directly from the Zoo’s giraffe barn.
About Masai Giraffe
Masai giraffe are the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal on Earth. They are native to Kenya and Tanzania and are characterized by their jagged spots. Males reach heights of up to 18 feet tall and females grow to 14 feet tall. Giraffes may bear one offspring after a 15 month gestation period. When a giraffe baby is born, it comes into the world front feet first, followed by the head, neck, and shoulders. Newborn giraffe can stand and walk within one hour of birth. They can also eat leaves at the age of four months, but continue to nurse until they are 6 to 9 months old.