The Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe finally has a name. The female calf, which was born on April 10, was named Kipenzi. In Swahili, the name means “loved one.” Indeed, the baby giraffe is a welcome addition to the Dallas Zoo.
Zoo officials report the healthy calf weighed 139 pounds and stood nearly 6′ tall. Although the birth took just under one hour, Kipenzi’s mother Katie cleaned and began nursing the calf right away.
As the birth was broadcast live by Animal Planet, the zoo received an overwhelming response from fans. Dallas Zoo CEO and President Gregg Hudson said viewers felt a strong connection with the calf after witnessing her birth.
Although many fans suggested names for the baby giraffe, the Dallas Zoo narrowed the choices down to three. The names, which included Adia, Kanzi, and Kipenzi, were subject to a public vote.
Voting to name the Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe was free. However, the zoo also accepted donations in the calf’s honor. As discussed on the Dallas Zoo website, all donations will benefit animal conservation programs.
— People magazine (@people) April 24, 2015
Zoo officials agreed to broadcast the birth live as the publicity will help raise awareness about giraffes and the need for animal conservation.
“Showing this birth… allowed us to teach about giraffes, including how threatened they are in Africa. We hope that will convince more people to get involved in conservation efforts with the groups with which we partner to help preserve giraffes in the wild.”
Although baby giraffes are generally put on display within weeks of their birth, the weather has delayed Kipenzi’s public debut. Zoo officials plan to place the calf in the Giants of the Savanna habitat when “the rain subsides and the ground is dry.”
Fans who are unable to travel to the Dallas Zoo for the baby giraffe’s debut will have an opportunity to experience the special day through video and photos, and zoo officials have promised to make the footage available through social media.
— NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) April 24, 2015
Kipenzi is not the only baby at the Dallas Zoo. In addition to the new calf, visitors will have an opportunity to meet Tasanee the Asian small-clawed otter, Mshindi the chimpanzee, Obi the mandrill, and Kosoko the kori bustard.
Returning visitors will also be happy to see Kopano the giraffe, who was born in October 2014. Although he weighed 130 pounds at birth, he now weighs over 300.
The Dallas Zoo’s baby giraffe has drawn a lot of attention to the zoo and animal conservation programs. Zoo officials encourage fans to learn more about giraffes and conservation efforts worldwide.
[Image via Dallas Zoo]