Everyone loves when a new animal is born. There’s nothing sweeter than seeing a sweet little baby animal — even though some aren’t exactly little.
Now, the Los Angeles Zoo is celebrating the birth of one very big baby: a newborn giraffe calf that is the tallest in the zoo’s history.
According to a news release from the zoo, 10-year-old female Masai giraffe Zainabu and her mate Phillip welcomed the new arrival on April 8.
Even at birth, this male giraffe is already standing taller than most humans: he was six-foot-seven-inches tall and weighing 172 pounds, making him the tallest newborn giraffe the zoo has ever seen.
This baby is big, even for a species known for their massive height. The giraffe is the tallest mammal in the world. According to the zoo, Masai giraffes, the largest giraffe subspecies, can grow up to 17 feet tall and 2,700 pounds.
Giraffes also 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 newborn giraffes can stand and walk around within 30 minutes of arrival.
This newborn already has a head start over other calfs, so who knows how big and tall he will be in adulthood. In the meantime, the calf is doing well and bonding with his doting mother.
“I’ve worked with giraffes here since 2005, and I have to say, Zainabu is a wonderful mother – she knew exactly what she needed to do when her labor started,” animal keeper Mike Bona said in the press release.
But the news of the birth isn’t just exciting for the calf’s record-breaking size — it’s good news because the giraffe is an endangered species, threatened by habitat loss and illegal hunting.
The LA Zoo supports conservation efforts to save the giraffe, and help to keep the species alive via their breeding program.
“Every giraffe birth we have at the L.A. Zoo is exciting,” Mike Bona said. “I am thrilled that we have this new calf to represent his endangered species.”
What a beautiful newborn giraffe! We know this “little” guy is going to grow into one of the biggest animals in the world someday. And more importantly, he’s playing an important part in keeping this endangered species alive for another generation.
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