Baby giraffe arrives at zoo

Staff Writer
Garden City Telegram
Cleo, a reticulated giraffe, checks on her newborn calf at Lee Richardson Zoo. This is the second calf for Cleo at the zoo.

Lee Richardson Zoo announces the birth of a reticulated giraffe calf.  This is the second calf for mom, Cleo, age 7, and dad, Juani, age 11, who looked on anxiously during the process.  Animal care and veterinary staff will do a well-baby check tomorrow after letting mom and baby bond.  “The baby stood up 50 minutes after being born.  Mom and baby are doing just fine so far,” said Animal Care Manager Pablo Holguin.

Zoo staff had been monitoring Cleo very closely, including some extra night checks.  Keepers found Cleo in the early stages of giving birth during their morning check.  The calf was born a few minutes after 10 a.m. and was nursing within the next few hours.

The calf was born in the indoor quarters.  Mom and calf will remain inside for a few days for some bonding time.  Juani will select the calf’s name next week.  He will remain separated from the mother and baby until the newborn is a bit older and steadier on its feet.

The birth is the result of a breeding recommendation from the Giraffe Species Survival Plan Program which coordinates population management for the species within member institutions of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and works to enhance conservation of the species in the wild.  In the wild, giraffe populations have decreased by 40% over the last thirty years due to poaching and habitat destruction.  Together AZA members and their partners are working to help save giraffes through education, scientific research, field work, public awareness and action.