What’s up, well it’s buttercup. She is the tall new giraffe that was recently born at the Santa Barbra Zoo. The male giraffe born on Thursday November 14 was named by donors to the zoo. This calf is the third in the past four years for mother, Audrey.
He was born at 1:45pm in the zoo’s giraffe barn and was soon attempting to get to his feet. He spent quite a bit of time slipping and sliding around though so keepers gave him a hand so he could get to his feet. At 4:11pm he had his first drink from mum. The zoo’s director, Nancy McToldridge said, “Everything went smoothly, even when Buttercup needed to be moved to a drier spot in order to stand up.”
It’s been a long wait for the giraffe to be born. A giraffe pregnancy last for 14.5 months. Keepers are excited that Betty Lou is also pregnant. Luckily this gave keepers time to prepare as McToldridge said, “Our professional staff prepared for and implemented the plan for an easy and healthy birth.”
The zoo’s male giraffe Michael has sired both babies. This is good for the zoological breeding program for giraffes as his genetics are now part of the captive population. Sheri Horiszny the zoo’s director of animal care said, “I’m very proud of our sire Michael, as he’s now clearly a proven breeder, and his genetics greatly help the diversity of our Masai population.” Michael is seen to be genetically valuable as he has never had another baby other than Sunshine a female bred at Santa Barbara Zoo.
The births are important due to the small size of the captive population, “Because they are just over one hundred Masai giraffes in captivity in North America, each birth and each giraffe is very important,” added Horiszny.
Zoos along the East Coast are co-operatively breeding Masai giraffes so they do not have to transport their animal’s long distances. There are only about 37,000 masai giraffe left in the wild making the captive breeding program incredibly important.
Photo Credits: Santa Barbra Zoo