By Mike Gorrell
From: The Salt Lake Tribune
Photo:(Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune) The 11-day-old calf at Hogle Zoo wanders in the giraffe cages Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. The female giraffe currently measures in at six feet tall
She doesn’t have a name yet, but everything else seems to be going well for a baby giraffe introduced Wednesday at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.
That’s a source of consolation for the zoo’s staff, knowing the gangly girl’s older brother died 2½ years ago at the age of eight months, “failure to thrive” listed as the cause of death.
“With that in the back of everyone’s minds, the staff has been monitoring her, taking blood samples, staying right on top of the situation and marking some of the milestones,” said Hogle Zoo spokeswoman Erica Hansen. “She’s really doing well.”
The giraffe was born Sept. 23 at 1:18 p.m., the second calf of mother Kipenzi and father Riley.
“It’s very exciting to have any birth here, but especially giraffes,” said animal care supervisor Jane Larson. “They’re such large animals. It’s so fascinating to see this long-legged creature come out of the giraffe’s womb and then they have such a long drop [almost 4 feet].”
Dad was gone for the delivery, shipped off earlier to the Oregon Zoo in Portland because of space constraints at Hogle Zoo while construction is under way on the African Savanna exhibit, scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.
But mom was quite attentive to her baby’s needs, Hansen said, and true to natural instincts, “within an hour this little gal was walking and nursing. They have to be able to get up and move quickly in the wild because young animals are so susceptible to being preyed upon.”
This is Hogle Zoo’s 16th successful giraffe birth since it started displaying giraffes in 1969. To help this young giraffe to avoid her brother’s fate, zoo staff allowed mother and daughter to bond slowly over the past week inside of the giraffe barn.
“[Kipenzi] sweetly cleans the baby from time to time,” Hansen noted.
The baby giraffe was exposed to the outside world for the first time Tuesday, then spent a little more time outdoors Wednesday and she’ll be on public display from now on.
Read more: The Salt Lake Tribune