INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo is welcoming a new member to their giraffe family.
The zoo said that at 4:35 a.m. Sunday, a male reticulated giraffe was born.
“Excited to welcome a beautiful male giraffe calf,” the zoo tweeted.
Zoo officials said the unnamed calf weighed 137 pounds and stood about 6 feet tall at birth.
The newborn is the first calf for 3-year-old mother Kita. The zoo said Kita had a 14-month pregnancy and gave birth standing up, as female giraffes do.
Zookeepers said the “little” guy is curious, follows his mom close behind and is nursing well.
Although giraffe patterns are unique, the zoo said the calf takes after his father, 10-year-old Majani, and has similar patches of lighter caramel color.
Other members of the giraffe herd have been trying to interact with the calf, even licking him through the fence.
The newborn will be an ambassador and help to raise awareness for the conservation of the species, said the zoo. The giraffe herd will spend much of the winter in its climate-controlled indoor facility.
The zoo said guests will have an opportunity to meet members of the herd up close in the springtime during public feeds.
Officials said the calf will be several feet taller before his first birthday.
More giraffe facts from Indy Zoo:
- While their arrival into the world is somewhat abrupt, newborn giraffes are extremely resilient and typically up on their feet in less than an hour.
- Native to Sub-Saharan Africa, giraffes have a coat of brown spots that helps camouflage them on the arid plains.
- The tallest mammal on land, giraffes are one of Africa’s most iconic species, yet they are still vulnerable to extinction.
- To support a healthy population of animals in human care, the Indianapolis Zoo maintains an active giraffe breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.