With a heart-shaped spot on her neck, the Fort Worth Zoo’s newest giraffe made her public debut — just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The calf, which hasn’t been named, was 132 pounds and 5 feet 7 inches tall when she was born Jan. 11. After bonding with her mom, Corrie, out of sight for a month, the calf ventured into the giraffe yard for the first time last weekend, much to the delight of visitors, said Crystal Halfmann, an informal educator at the zoo.
“She did very well. She actually did branch away from her mom and did explore the exhibit with the other females that she is accustomed to,” Halfmann said.
The calf is the 15th giraffe born at the zoo since 1991 and the first since her aunt Tatu’s birth in 2012.
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“She lives here with her grandmother, her mother and her aunt, so we have three generations of giraffes here at the Fort Worth Zoo,” Halfmann said.
Giraffes, whose gestation period is about 15 months, are one of the zoo’s most successfully bred animals, officials said. The zoo’s first giraffe, Jerry, was born in 1957.
Caretakers said Corrie, born in 2008, has been a protective first-time mother to her curious calf. The zoo has six female giraffes, including the calf’s grandmother, Kala, and one male giraffe, Captain, the calf’s father.
It has not been determined whether the calf will become a permanent member of the herd or will be sent to another zoo as part of a species survival plan, officials said. Since 2000, nine giraffes born in Fort Worth have been moved to other accredited zoos.
The calf’s name will be announced soon on the zoo’s Facebook page.
Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639
▪ Giraffes, the world’s tallest mammals, stand 14 to 19 feet tall and weigh 1,750 to 2,800 pounds when fully grown.
▪ Female giraffes carry a single calf for about 15 months and give birth standing up.
▪ No two giraffes have the same spotted pattern.
▪ Their average life span in the wild is 25 years.
▪ A giraffe’s tongue, which can be 18 to 21 inches, is dark to protect it from sunburn as it strips leaves from branches.
▪ Giraffes can run as fast as 35 mph over short distances.
Source: National Geographic