Philadelphia, PA - Philadelphia Zoo is thrilled to welcome a new baby giraffe, born to parents Stella and Gus on the evening of Sunday, June 10th. After a smooth delivery, mom and calf are doing well. This is the second offspring for Stella and Gus, who are also parents to seven-year-old Abigail, born at Philadelphia Zoo in July 2010.
The calf, a male named Beau, made his public debut today and is currently on exhibit in the African Plains area at the Zoo. Mom and Beau have the choice of being in their outdoor exhibit or their indoor barn so may spend some time out of sight. Male giraffes do not have a direct role in caring for newborns and for now Gus will live apart from the baby. Once the baby is a bit older, Gus will rejoin the group.
“We’ve been looking forward to a giraffe birth for more than a year,” says Dr. Andy Baker, the Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer. “The giraffe is one of the most iconic animals in the world, and unfortunately now among the threatened. Recently listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the number of giraffe is in steady decline with threats including poaching and habitat destruction. This new calf reminds us how important it is to take action for wildlife,” says Baker.
The gestation period for a giraffe is approximately 14 months. The newborn has not yet been weighed but at birth stood 5 ft. – 7- inches and can weigh anywhere from 100-150lbs. Giraffes are the tallest land animals in the world with adult males reaching up to 18- feet- tall and weighing close to 3000 lbs., females can grow to 15- feet- tall and weigh up to 1,500 lbs.
A baby giraffe nurses for several months or longer before transitioning to an adult herbivorous diet which includes browse. The recent relaunch of the Zoo’s Browse Program, an initiative with PECO, will provide nutritious, plant-based food weekly to the baby as well as other Zoo animals as a healthy part of their diet, Leaves, twigs and tree branches, all considered browse, are what PECO’s Vegetation Management group routinely trims from around power lines to increase customers’ reliability. Once the browse is trimmed it is delivered to the Zoo and examined to ensure safety and appropriateness, and then allocated to different species as food.
Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with scientists estimating there are fewer than 100,000 surviving in the wild. Issues facing giraffes include poaching and habitat destruction. Recent studies suggest that there may be several different giraffe species, with some species at high conservation risk.
Philadelphia Zoo is home to four giraffes: 12-year-old Gus, 17-year-old Stella, seven-year-old daughter Abigail and newborn Beau. For updates on the baby, visit PhiladelphiaZoo.org or follow our social media channels: Twitter @PhillyZoo, Instagram @PhiladelphiaZoo and Facebook.com/PhiladelphiaZoo