Detroit Zoo welcomes giraffe baby

Kivuli and Calf - photo by Jennie Miller, Detroit Zoo

ROYAL OAK, Mich. - A reticulated giraffe was born at the Detroit Zoo Tuesday evening to 5-year-old Kivuli following a 15-month gestation. The father is 6-year-old Jabari.

Giraffes give birth while standing and the newborn falls more than 5 feet, enough to break the umbilical cord. The calf can stand and run with its mother within hours.

The yet-to-be-named boy calf – born outdoors in the giraffe habitat – took its first steps an hour after its birth and nursed throughout the night, according to animal care staff who witnessed the birth and have monitored mom and baby around the clock.

"The calf appears strong and healthy, all legs and very curious," said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer. "Kivuli is showing great maternal care; she's very attentive and affectionate."

The calf is estimated to weigh about 150 pounds and stand more than 5 feet tall. The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) – tallest of all land mammals ¬– can reach heights of up to 20 feet and weigh up to 2,500 pounds.

The calf will be kept in the giraffe building as temperatures drop, but may be seen with its mother outdoors on warmer days.

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