Press release from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo:
Baby Giraffe Born at Zoo
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo welcomed its 16th baby reticulated giraffe when female giraffe Luna delivered a baby girl at 4:57 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 in the African Journey.
Kesi (pronounced KESS-ee) is petite for a baby giraffe, standing only 5’5″ tall and weighing 115 pounds at birth. Kesi is the fourth baby for her father, male giraffe Jelani, and is the first baby for her mother, Luna.
Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months. Luna delivered the baby without assistance in the African Journey barn, with zoo keepers and Zoo Veterinarian Joe Smith watching through a mesh window.
Although this was Luna’s first baby, she knew exactly what to do during and after the delivery, which lasted about four hours. Baby giraffes emerge front feet first, followed by the head, neck, and body. As is typical for giraffes, Luna remained standing throughout the entire birth, and the baby dropped gently onto the barn floor, which keepers had bedded with a thick layer of wood shavings.
Within 20 minutes, the baby was standing, and it began nursing within just 35 minutes – two important milestones that signal a healthy and strong baby. On the wild African savannah, baby giraffes are easy prey for lions, hyenas, and leopards, so the ability to move immediately is essential for their survival.
Kesi will remain in the barn with Luna for a few weeks while she is gradually introduced to the other members of the giraffe herd. “Because Kesi is still a little wobbly, we want her to get stronger before she meets the other giraffes,” says Animal Curator Mark Weldon.
Mom Luna is one of the shyer giraffes in the zoo’s seven-member herd. Although she has lived at the zoo since 2007, Luna only recently began entering the exhibit yard.
Zoo guests can expect to see Kesi and Luna in the giraffe exhibit later this summer. In the meantime, photos of Kesi and Luna are on the zoo’s website at www.kidszoo.org.
About the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
The zoo is one of the area’s major attractions, drawing more than 600,000 visitors every year. The zoo was recently named one of the country’s “Top Ten Zoos for Kids” by Parents Magazine.
The zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until October 10. Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for children age 2-14, and $10 for seniors over age 60. Babies age 1 and under and Zoo Society Members are admitted free.