Jacksonville Zoo welcomes baby giraffe | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There's a new baby at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, but he won't fit into the usual crib.
The 6-foot-2 male reticulated giraffe weighs 150 pounds and came into the world at 4:40 a.m. Thursday.
The as-yet-unnamed calf was born to the zoo's only male breeding giraffe, Duke, and first-time mother Luna. She is a 5-year-old giraffe who came to the attraction at 370 Zoo Parkway in April 2009.
Luna was the perfect mother, doting on her new baby immediately after his birth. Her baby was also quick to get on his feet - he stood within an hour of his birth and began nursing.
"His mom is not a really big giraffe and I didn't think he would weigh in, but he is within normal parameters," said the zoo's deputy director of conservation and education, Dan Maloney. "I think he's a pretty confident little guy and well-mannered. The last male we had was trying to kick people the second day. This one seems a little calmer."
This is the fifth giraffe calf born at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens in the past 2?1/2 years. He's not on public display yet, remaining with his mother in the giraffe barn. But as the weather warms up and improves this week, zoo visitors might catch a glimpse of him with his mother in the giraffe holding yard as they pass by on the train.
In a few weeks he could be allowed into the big yard at the Giraffe Overlook area near the Savanna Blooms Garden, Maloney said.
"We want to make sure he doesn't get hung up in the rocks, and he is still a youngster," Maloney said. "When he's in that little side yard with his mom, the other young giraffes born in the past few years get very curious and they try to put their head over the fence and lick him. They are a gregarious species."
There are 11 giraffes at the zoo now. They typically live about 25 years in captivity and can reach up to 18 feet in height.