Baby New Year at Niabi Zoo is about six feet tall and 150 pounds.
Mimi, one of the zoo’s female giraffes, gave birth Sunday. Mother and son are doing well, Niabi Zoo director Tom Stalf reports.
The baby was born a few days earlier than expected, Stalf said. A veterinarian was to examine the expectant mother today but instead checked on a newborn calf. The gestation period for giraffes is
Keepers were on hand shortly after the birth, about 8 a.m. It was recorded by security cameras.
“She was doing everything textbook,” Stalf said. “The vet came out and pulled the baby, did a quick exam and put her him back with mom. He is nursing fine.”
Stalf said he has talked to sponsors who helped bring the giraffes to the zoo in 2007 about naming the calf.
“I think you are going to see a name that is going to have a meaning about being near the New Year,” Stalf said.
The public won’t get a close up look at the latest zoo baby until Niabi opens in May, later than usual, because of several construction projects that are under way.
By then, there could be two giraffe calves. The zoo’s other female giraffe, Twiga, also is pregnant by the male giraffe, Kenya.
The newborn giraffe will stay through the summer season or longer but will be offered to other American Zoological Association-member zoos seeking a giraffe as part of the group’s breeding program.
“We want to keep two females and a male, have babies that stay a year or two, then move them on,” Stalf said.
The joy of a new giraffe offsets the tragedy the small herd experienced a few months ago. In October, Jabu, a 3-year-old male who has been at the zoo for about two years, was found dead. A necropsy showed the giraffe had an inflamed heart.
The giraffes grow to an average height of 14-19 feet, weighing 1,750 to 2,800 pounds. They are herbivores with 18-inch tongues. The mother gives birth standing up, and the fall of five or six feet helps the calf take its first breath. It stands within one hour after birth.