Virginia Zoo in Norfolk Announces Birth of Giraffe - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Virginia Zoo in Norfolk Announces Birth of Giraffe

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Virginia Zoo in Norfolk


NORFOLK, Va. – The Virginia Zoo is excited to announce the birth of a healthy male giraffe calf.  Giraffe parents, 11-year-old mother Imara and father Billy welcomed their new baby Thursday, June 6. 

At birth, the calf weighed in at 150 pounds and measured 6'4" tall. This is the third offspring for Imara  and an exciting new addition to the Zoo's giraffe herd.

"We are ecstatic about this new baby," said Greg Bockheim, the Zoo's executive director. "Zookeepers  knew she was pregnant but pinning down an exact date is very difficult because pregnant giraffe are  masters at hiding their pregnancy because in the wild they need to protect themselves from what  becomes a compromising condition at delivery."

The newborn has not been given a name, but the  Zoo's executive director likes the idea of naming him Paul after our Mayor. Masai giraffe are the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal on Earth. They are  native to Kenya and Tanzania and are characterized by their jagged spots. Males reach heights of up to  18 feet tall and females grow to 14 feet tall. Giraffes may bear one offspring after a 15 month gestation  period. When a giraffe baby is born, it comes into the world front feet first, followed by the head, neck,  and shoulders. Newborn giraffe can stand and walk within one hour of birth. They can also eat leaves  at the age of four months, but continue to nurse until they are 6 to 9 months old.

The new baby has been given a preliminary check up by the Zoo's veterinarian and appears to be very  healthy. Under the watchful eye of mother Imara, the baby giraffe will begin to explore his surroundings  in the upcoming weeks.

Mom and baby can be viewed by Zoo visitors at the indoor giraffe exhibit in  Africa.

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