Thursday, July 15, 2010

Giraffe born at Zoo Atlanta

Glenda, a 3-year-old female giraffe at Zoo Atlanta, has given birth to her first calf. Born on July 13, the newborn stands around 6 feet tall and is estimated to weigh between 100 and 150 pounds. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams will continue to monitor both Glenda and the calf, who will have an opportunity to bond indoors before exploring their African Plains habitat.

“We are extremely excited about the birth of the calf,” said Raymond King, President and CEO. “Giraffes have long been a very popular and charismatic part of the collection.”

As is typical of the species, giraffe mothers give birth standing up, and their offspring are usually born feet-first. Healthy calves are able to walk within two hours of birth.

The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams previously based their estimation of Glenda’s condition on weight gain and physical signs that she was expecting. “Glenda’s exact birth window remained uncertain. Giraffe gestation is 15 months,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Senior Vice President of Collections, Education and Conservation.

Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in October 2006, Glenda and her half-sister, 4-year-old Mona, arrived at Zoo Atlanta in October 2007. The females share their habitat with the calf’s father, 4-year-old Abu.

The world’s tallest living land mammals, giraffes are native to grasslands and open woodlands in east Africa. The species is not currently endangered, although wild populations face decline due to habitat loss.

Mother and calf will bond off-exhibit for two to three weeks; stay tuned for exciting details on the calf’s debut.

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