It's a boy! And he's six feet tall!
On Nov. 8, the Indianapolis Zoo welcomed the birth of a male reticulated giraffe. The calf weighed 137 pounds and stood about 6 feet tall at birth. He is already growing and will be several feet taller before his first birthday, says the Zoo's Conservation Public Relations Specialist, Melanie Laurendine, in a press release.
The newborn is the first calf for 3-year-old mother Kita following a 14-month pregnancy. Newborn giraffes are extremely resilient and are typically up on their feet in less than an hour. Zookeepers said the calf is curious, following close behind mom and nursing well. The other members of the herd have shown interest in interacting, even licking the calf through the stall fence.
The Zoo will conduct a public naming contest on social media in the near future.
While every giraffe’s pattern is unique, the Zoo’s youngster currently takes after his father, 10-year-old Majani, with his lighter, caramel-colored patches.
Like all of the Zoo’s animals, this newborn will be an ambassador and help to raise awareness for conservation of the species. The Zoo’s giraffe herd, which is now up to five, will spend much of the winter inside its climate-controlled indoor facility. The new family is expected to make its debut in the spring, and guests will have an opportunity to meet members of the herd up close during public feedings.