Monday, April 4, 2011

So happy to be here: First baby Giraffe born to Cincinnati zoo in 26 years enters the world with a smile

Giving birth can be traumatic at the best of times.But this new born giraffe appears to taking it all in its (rather long) stride.Entering the world just before 10 am yesterday, the unnamed and as yet un-sexed six foot baby took its first tentative steps as the Cincinnati Zoo's latest star attraction.

Say Cheese: The new baby smiles for the camera just after being born on Saturday

Love: Parents Kimba and Tessa welcome the new born into the world
Speaking to, the zoo's executive director Thane Maynard said: 'When there’s a birth of an animal, it’s awe-inspiring because nature is a phenomenal system.

'That’s true when a mouse is born, but when you’ve got a 6-foot baby that comes out and flops on the ground, it’s just the darnedest thing. It goes without saying, this is an exciting day.'

The calf's mother, 1,800 lb Tessa, became restless around 5 am Saturday morning and shortly thereafter volunteers noticed the calf’s hoof coming through and immediately contacted staff.
Four hours later Tessa delivered her calf and soon after began licking the vulnerable new born.
The calf took about 20 minutes before struggling to its feet.
Visitors can start seeing the baby on Tuesday, although they will likely stay inside until the weather warms up.
Although such births are not rare, it was a significant one for the zoo since the last giraffe born there was in 1985.
There have been 10 previous calves born – the first in 1889 made the Cincinnati Zoo the first in the Western Hemisphere to have a giraffe born in captivity.

Struggle: The baby stumbled to its feet shortly after being born as mother Tessa nursed the six foot bundle of joy

Helping tongue: Mother Tessa licks the new calf as it stumbles to its feet in the first few hours after being born
Giraffes are not currently endangered, although the numbers have decreased in the past century.
They are listed as 'lower risk' with fairly stable populations.

Unlike many species, there is no true breeding season for the Maasai Giraffe and females can become pregnant beginning at just four years of age.
In the wild up to 75 per cent of the calves die in their first few months of life, mainly due to predation.
Suggestions on what to name the zoo’s new addition have already come in – including 'April' and 'Tulip' because of the zoo’s botanical garden.

Zoo officials have said they may hold a naming ceremony.

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