Newborn baby animals are always adorable, but there’s something extra special about the arrival of a baby giraffe. Unlike most newborns, giraffes can be over six feet tall at birth and stand on their own feet instantly.
It’s also always great news because the giraffe is a vulnerable species, so each new birth is a step towards ensuring their survival.
Now, one zoo is celebrating the arrival of an adorable newborn giraffe calf.
According to a press release from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, reticulated giraffe Zola gave birth to a girl calf on Sunday, March 19. The newborn was measured at 5 feet 7 inches, and successfully stood for the first time within an hour of her arrival.
While the delivery went well, there have been some complications. In an update, the zoo said that Zola “did not show the expected level of maternal care toward her calf.”
The zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams stepped in to provide round-the-clock care for the calf. They write that they were prepared for the scenario, given that Zola is a first-time mother.
“Our team spends months preparing for animal births and for as many different outcomes as imaginable,” said Dr. Taylor Yaw, Director of Animal Health for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “In this case, as we monitored Mom and calf after the birth, we were able to make the decision to intervene.”
They have been providing the calf with nutrition and medical care, including giving her a plasma transfusion donated by her father, Jawara, which is intended to boost the calf’s immune system.
Meanwhile, new mom Zola is reportedly doing well with the rest of the herd, but zoo staff are continuing to monitor her for “post-partum concerns.”
Despite those complications, the zoo has expressed confidence that the newborn giraffe will be in good health and she’s receiving the best of care.
“Our teams are excited about this birth, and cautiously optimistic that our treatments, supportive care and unwavering dedication will help this baby Giraffe survive,” said Dr. Luis R. Padilla, President and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “Our Giraffe calf is in the best hands, receiving continuous care and love from our talented veterinarians, technicians and caretakers.”
Giraffes give birth to the third-largest newborns in the animal kingdom, behind only blue whales and elephants, averaging about 165 pounds. With a 15-month gestation period, giraffes are already pretty big and fully-formed at delivery.
Giraffes also have a fascinating birthing process: the mother gives birth standing up, and many newborn giraffes can stand and walk around within 30 minutes of arrival.
The reticulated giraffe subspecies is also considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), so the new arrival is great news for a very vulnerable species.
Congrats on the birth of this adorable newborn giraffe! Even though there were some complications with the arrival it seems like the newborn is doing well and in the best of hands.
Please share this great news!