In the early evening hours of St. Patrick’s Day, a handful of Zoo staff were lucky enough to witness one of the animal kingdom’s most awe-inspiring spectacles: the birth of a giraffe!
This beautiful baby boy is the 11th calf born at the Zoo and the fifth produced by 16-year-old Milenna. Giraffe are pregnant for 13–15 months at a time, so we imagine she was quite relieved upon giving birth. The father is, of course, the one and only Rafiki!
The first thing the calf experienced was a six-foot fall to the ground. He took his first steps at about 45 minutes of age.
Weighing 148 pounds and measuring 6’3.5” tall, he is just a half-inch shorter than Greg, Milenna’s previous calf, was upon birth in March 2016.
This little guy’s arrival is good news for the Masai giraffe subspecies, which is threatened by habitat loss, poaching, disease and civil unrest in its native Tanzania and Kenya. We are proud to have partnered with Giraffe Conservation Fund, an organization on the front line of giraffe research and protection.
The as-yet-unnamed calf will remain behind the scenes with mom for the next few weeks before joining the rest of the tower in Expedition Africa. You can watch him grow by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!