The Virginia Zoo welcomed a giraffe calf Sunday and you can have a say in naming her.
The Masai calf weighed in at 149 pounds and measured 5 feet, 11 inches tall. Masai giraffe are the tallest land mammal on Earth.
There are only approximately 100 Masai Giraffes in North America. “This birth is not only important to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), but contributes greatly to the Zoo’s role of an educational institution for adult and children visitors alike,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.
The zoo observation windows in the Africa-Okavango Delta exhibit provided a view for visitors to watch mom Imara give birth. Giraffes give birth standing up, dropping the newborn some six feet to the ground. This is Imara’s fifth baby.
When the calf started to walk just a few hours after birth, the zoo staff immediately noticed she was born with a birth defect where her front limbs bow slightly backwards as she walks. It is not a painful condition.
“Imara is an experienced and attentive mother and we’re optimistic that she’ll do a great job. Many of these calves grow out of this condition, but there are those calves that may need support and assistance as they grow. Since this calf is strong and has been getting adequate nutrition, we are hopeful that she will continue to thrive with her mother’s care. Improvement or resolution could take several weeks to months. We are monitoring her closely and collaborating with our veterinary and zoo partners to ensure that she is a happy, healthy giraffe,” explained Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian.
Start thinking of names. The zoo is planning a naming competition soon. Stay with hrScene.com for updates.