The Birmingham Zoo is proud to ring in the New Year by announcing the birth of its newest family member. At 12:12 AM (CST) on January 1st , 2014, a male, reticulated giraffe was born making it the first giraffe birth of any North American accredited Zoo. The baby giraffe has undergone a complete physical exam, weighs 140 pounds and stands at six-feet and two inches tall. With this birth, the Birmingham Zoo now has five giraffes in its collection. This is the first offspring for both five-year-old mother, Willow, and seven-year-old father, Jalil. It is the most recent giraffe birth since Willow’s birth at the Birmingham Zoo in July 2008.
The new arrival is nursing and is in the process of bonding with his mother in a warm holding area due to the seasonally cold temperatures. The Zoo staff believes the baby giraffe takes after his father with similar markings and mannerisms. In the coming weeks, guests are welcome to see the baby giraffe at the Kiwanis Giraffe Encounter exhibit. Beginning January 6th , the Zoo will encourage the community to vote for one of three names selected for the baby giraffe through a Facebook voting contest. One voter will be selected to receive a one-year Family Membership package to the Birmingham Zoo and a behind-the-scenes tour of the giraffe exhibit.
Female giraffes can grow to be up to 17 feet tall and male giraffes can reach heights of 19 feet, making them the world’s tallest land mammal. Unlike many hoofed animals, giraffes can see in color and have very keen vision and hearing. A giraffe’s gestation period typically lasts anywhere from 13 to 15 months. Giraffes give birth to their offspring standing up, and the newborn calf has an approximate 6-foot fall upon birth.
The Birmingham Zoo supports the conservation of African giraffes and strives to be a leading zoological resource in the United States. With this breeding effort, the Zoo continues its mission of “Inspiring Passion for the Natural World…through emphasizing Conservation, Education, Scientific Study and Recreation in all aspects of the Birmingham Zoo’s exhibits, programs, facilities and activities.”