Greenville Zoo’s latest addition — a newly born baby giraffe — is healthy and eating, city spokesperson Beth Brotherton said Monday morning.
The calf, yet to be named, nursed for the first time around 7 p.m. Sunday night after it was born around 2:30 p.m., according to a press release. The calf was standing on its own by 3:08 p.m.
The baby is 14-year-old female giraffe Autumn’s sixth calf.
Zoo staff expect to confirm the baby’s gender at a veterinarian visit Monday afternoon, Brotherton said in a text message.
The calf will nurse for nine to 12 months and will begin eating foliage at around two months old. It will double in size in its first year of life, according to the press release.
Giraffes each have their own individual spot-like markings, and no two giraffes have the same pattern.
“We are excited to welcome our new baby giraffe. This is another success towards ensuring the future of Masai giraffes,” said Zoo Director Bill Cooper.
The calf’s father is 12-year-old Miles, who came to the Greenville Zoo in 2016 from the Houston Zoo. Autumn was born at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and arrived at the Greenville Zoo in 2007.
Autumn and Miles’ pairing resulted from a recommendation by the Species Survival Plan, a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain genetic diversity of threatened, endangered species that are in human care, according to the press release.
In 2019, the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared the Masai giraffe endangered, as their population has declined nearly 50% in the past 30 years. Poaching and changes in land use are primary causes. It’s estimated that only 35,000 Masai giraffes exist today, according to the press release.
To watch Autumn and her baby interact on the live barn camera, visit greenvillezoofoundation.org.
Macon Atkinson covers the city of Greenville for The Greenville News. She’s powered by strong coffee, long runs and good sunsets. Follow her on Twitter @maconatkinson. Subscribe to The Greenville News here.