Norfolk, Va. - The Virginia Zoo welcomed a female Masai giraffe calf on May 20, 2019. At birth, the calf weighed 141 pounds, and stands almost six feet tall. This is the sixth giraffe to be born to mom, Imara and seventh for dad, Billy.
“We’re so excited to see the birth of the world’s tallest land mammal here at the Zoo,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “This perfectly coincides with the addition of our life-size giraffe sculpture at the Zoo’s entrance which gives visitors the opportunity to feel the real-life scale of these magnificent creatures,” added Bockheim.
While mom and baby remain indoors at the giraffe barn in Africa - Okavango Delta exhibit, Billy and the Zoo’s other adult female, Noelle, are typically outside during regular Zoo hours. The calf was standing within two hours of birth and has been observed by Animal Care Staff nursing from Imara. The experienced mom is taking great care of the newborn, but the two may remain inside, with access to an outside holding yard, to bond for up to a few weeks before being introduced to the exhibit. Imara and calf may be seen by guests from the viewing windows inside the giraffe barn.
Naming rights of the giraffe calf will be auctioned at the Zoo’s Annual Zoo To Do on June 1, 2019. Tickets for the creative cocktail event are just $65 in advance, but guests do not need to be in attendance to win naming rights. The auction has already begun with a starting bid of $500. The winner must supply a name within a week of the auction’s end so Keepers and staff can begin training sessions with the new baby giraffe. Make your bid at https://one.bidpal.net/zootodo/featured. Funds raised from the auction of the giraffe naming rights will support the Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts.
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.
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