This was taken from the San Francisco Zoo’s Animail Newsletter for September 2007:
Baby Giraffe Born!
On the morning of August 11, the San Francisco Zoo animal care staff made a pleasant discovery â€“ one of our female giraffes had given birth to her first calf! The six-foot-tall, 130-pound male calf, bearing the puzzle-piece markings of the reticulated giraffe species, was found inside the Giraffe Lodge. He’s the first offspring born to three-year-old Bititi (pronounced Bah-Ti-Ti) and the third sired by his father, Floyd.
However, animal care staff noticed that the vital maternal care and nursing by the first-time mom Bititi, was not developing in a timely fashion. Because this is a critical period in the calf’s life, animal care and veterinary staff deemed it necessary to begin bottle-feeding and round-the-clock monitoring of the newborn. Alert and curious, the calf (lovingly referred to by staff as “Bulldozer”) is being fed a combination of bovine colostrum and fortified goat’s milk, and is taking well to being bottle-fed.
“Ideally, when dealing with any birth of an animal, we want the mom to take the iniative in caring for her offspring,” said Bob Jenkins, director of animal care and conservation. “This particular instance is not uncommon for a first time mother. Therefore, we decided as a staff to take the necessary steps in caring for the calf to ensure he grows up strong and healthy.”
Our animal care and veterinary staff are no strangers to bottle-feeding a giraffe calf. Last year they successfully hand-reared a male calf named Gordon, who has since joined the giraffe herd at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama.
We expect Bulldozer to remain off-exhibit for several weeks, after which he will join our four other giraffes in the African Savanna; his parents Floyd and Bititi and unrelated females Kristin and Gezi.
DID YOU KNOW?
After a 422-488 day gestation period, a single giraffe calf is dropped from the mother while she is standing. Newborns are 67-79 inches tall and weigh from 100-150 lbs.
And by the way, I donate a portion of my fees for every sale to the San Francisco Zoo. Contact me for more information!