OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has an exciting announcement! A female giraffe was born October 10, the first calf to be born at the zoo’s new Giraffe House in Expedition Africa.

The zoo’s giraffe caretakers say the yet-to-be-named calf is healthy and thriving, standing 5’11” tall and weighing approximately 160 lbs. She was standing and nursing within one hour of being born – both important milestones for a newborn calf, according to the zoo.

Caretakers also say the little giraffe is curious about her surroundings and has an independent nature about her.

This is 8-year-old Julu’s second offspring with 6-year-old Demetri, who are also parents to 2-year-old Njeri, born September 2021.

Both Julu and calf will remain off public view at the giraffe barn to allow them time to bond. In the next few weeks, caretakers will begin the process of introducing other herd members to the new calf.

“It’s been extremely rewarding to watch Julu raise her first calf, Njeri, and we’re thrilled to welcome the newest member to our amazing giraffe herd,” said OKC Zoo’s Curator of Ungulates, Tracey Dolphin. “This birth is significant for this endangered species and for the Zoo’s commitment to helping conserve giraffe populations.”

OKC Zoo officials say this is the 58th giraffe to be born at the Zoo since the first giraffe birth in 1965.

Since the 1980s, giraffe populations in Africa have dropped 30%. The primary reason for the decline is habitat loss. Human activities such as agricultural expansion, logging and urban development have drastically reduced available giraffe habitat. Currently, only 10% of the historic range for giraffes remains. As these spaces shrink, giraffes are forced to move elsewhere and face increased competition for resources.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is supporting Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) with funds raised through the Zoo’s Round Up for Conservation program. GCF is an international science-based conservation organization that provides innovative approaches to save giraffes in the wild.

Learn more about the conservation effort or buy tickets to see the zoo’s giraffe family on the OKC Zoo website.