A new giraffe has been born at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. Zoo officials made an announcement on Tuesday, October 30, and introduced the newcomer to the outside world.
According to a report by Fox News, the calf was born to the Zoo’s 8-year-old giraffe, Zuri. The father of the new calf is an 8-year-old Masai giraffe named Enzi.
In July, zoo officials announced that Zuri — and another 6-year-old giraffe named Cami — were pregnant. Zuri was brought to Columbus Zoo in 2013 after being at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio, per 10 TV.
Officials also said that they are closely monitoring the mother and the calf. The sex of the giraffe is, however, not known as yet. The birth of the giraffe was captured on a National Geographic webcam, per Fox News.
The new giraffe’s arrival is important to the zoo because it’s the first time in nearly 20 years that a giraffe calf has been born in the zoo. The last time that a giraffe gave birth in the zoo was in 1999, as reported by 10 TV.
As Columbus Zoo and Aquarium announced the birth of the baby giraffe on their social media channels, people expressed their happiness and excitement at the newcomer’s arrival.
“Oooo! I can’t wait until this summer! My little one LOVES giraffes and I can’t wait to take him to see them in person,” a parent wrote on the zoo’s Facebook page.
Another person commented, saying “I needed a new baby giraffe in my life!!!!! So cute!!!!”
— Columbus Zoo (@ColumbusZoo) October 30, 2018
The gestation period for giraffes is one of the longest in the animal kingdom, and can last up to 14 or 15 months. And although it’s possible for giraffes to give birth to twins, they usually give birth to only one calf at a time. At birth, baby giraffes are expected to weigh anywhere from 100 to 150 pounds — and can be around 6 feet tall, per Giraffe World.
When living in the wild, giraffes usually have a life expectancy of 15 years, but in captivity, they can live up to 20 to 25 years. Females reach sexual maturity at age 6, while male giraffes start breeding at 7 years of age. The reason why life expectancy is lower in the wild is because giraffes are a prime target for apex predators.
Baby giraffes can walk within a couple of hours after being born — but because of their size, they get tired very fast. This makes them vulnerable to predators, per Giraffe World. For the first 14 days, baby giraffes rest a lot and are protected by their mothers. And despite their mother’s protection, only about 25 percent of young giraffes reach adulthood in the wild, largely due to predation.