Giving birth to a giraffe is a tall order, but longtime Sacramento Zoo resident Shani now has a new addition to her family!
Last Sunday, Shani welcomed a female calf at the zoo, four days after zookeepers saw signs of an impending birth and moved her to a maternity stall. The zoo announced shortly after that the calf was “healthy and nursing well from mom” after her 12:28 pm arrival.
“They are spending time together inside the barn, and while they are not yet visible to guests, you can rest assured she is happy and warm with mom,” the Sacramento Zoo shared on Facebook. “Stay tuned for when she will be out for guests to see.”
The zoo celebrated the yet-to-be-named baby giraffe’s arrival with a sweet welcome video on social media, showing the calf walking for the first time and being supported by her mother. The clip wrapped with the message: “Welcome to the zoo, little one.”
The zoo explained that the mother and daughter are now two of six giraffes at the location. Shani is one of three female Masai giraffes, while the zoo also houses one post-reproductive female reticulated giraffe and one male Masai giraffe.
The newest addition to the crew is the only current calf, and she marks the 21st giraffe born at the Sacramento Zoo — where the species was first housed in 1954!
“Shani and her calf have been spending time together inside the giraffe barn, and it sure looks like our little gal has found her legs and is ready to explore a little further,” the zoo shared in an update. “Starting tomorrow, the pair will have the opportunity to venture out into the side yard just off the main giraffe habitat near the barn.”
“The ability to see them will be weather dependent, and mom and calf will always have the choice whether to stay in the barn or come outside,” the post continued.
According to the zoo, the best time to possibly get a look at the newborn would be around 11 am and 12 pm local time. And after the current “trial period,” once the animal is introduced to the rest of the herd, she will “eventually have access to the full yard.”
In the recent zoo clip, the calf looks to be more nimble on her feet than she prances around her mother. With her tail wagging. She even approaches the camera for an up-close look.
An auction for naming rights will take place in the coming weeks, CBS News reports. Another baby giraffe received the name Glory through a similar fundraiser in 2022.
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The newest giraffe in Sacramento arrives months after the Milwaukee County Zoo welcomed a calf of their own — in front of zoo guests! The birth of the male calf took place in August, when his mom Ziggy had the first out-doors birth at the zoo since the 1990s, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Ziggy’s labor progressed so quickly that zookeepers couldn’t move her indoors before the calf’s arrival, the newspaper reported.
“He’s strong, spunky, and curious about his surroundings,” the zoo’s animal care team wrote on social media.
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