OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Visitors to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will soon be greeted by a new addition to the family.
On Friday, the zoo announced the birth of an endangered male giraffe calf.
The calf, who is yet to be named, was born on Thursday at the zoo’s giraffe habitat barn to 20-year-old Ellie and 4-year-old Demetri.
The healthy calf is strong and weighs approximately 157 pounds and stands 6’1″ tall.
He is expected to spend time bonding with his mother and herd mates behind the scenes.
Officials say Ellie’s 5-year-old daughter, Julu, is also pregnant and expected to deliver her first calf soon.
“Witnessing Ellie and Julu experience pregnancy together has been the greatest joy and we’re thrilled to watch our herd grow with the addition of this little calf,” said OKC Zoo’s Curator of Hoofstock and Primates, Tracey Dolphin-Drees. “This birth is critical for the conservation of this endangered species and a true testament to the importance of the Zoo’s involvement in collaborative breeding efforts.”
The gestation period for giraffes is approximately 15 months. The average weight for a newborn giraffe is about 150 pounds.
Newborns stand within an hour of birth at a height of around six-feet tall.
Native to East and South Africa, giraffes are currently listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. There are approximately 111,000 giraffes remaining in the wild, an almost 40% decline since the 1980s. This population decline is caused by illegal poaching and habitat destruction.