It’s a boy!
The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington welcomed one of its latest and tallest babies this Thursday.
Olivia, the zoo's 12-year-old giraffe gave birth to a healthy boy at 4:56 am yesterday morning.
Unlike human newborns, “the baby was on his feet within an hour after he was born, which is what we want to see,” Katie Ahl, a lead zoo keeper at Woodland Park Zoo, said in a press release.
Olivia and her unnamed calf are currently out of view in the giraffe barn to allow what the zoo calls “a cozy, quiet environment for maternal bonding and nursing.”
The first 24 to 72 hours are critical to the proper development of newborn giraffes, Ahl said.
An experienced mother, Olivia is showing “good maternal behavior” for her second offspring, Ahl said. In 2013, she gave birth to her first boy, Misawa, with another male giraffe, Chioke.
This baby’s father is 6-year-old Dave, who also fathered Olivia’s sister’s baby.
Olivia’s sister, Tufani gave birth to a girl, Lulu, in 2017 -- making this latest giraffe the second baby born in the zoo within the last 5 years.
Although the baby is nursing and standing, concerns remain about his rear legs.
“He’s not walking normally on his rear legs,” a condition known as "hyper extended fetlocks," Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at Woodland Park Zoo, noted in a press release.
In a subsequent update, Collins said that the medical team have applied "casts on both rear legs to help heal the tendons, which is the current best practice in treating this condition in newborns."
"Treatment will most likely span over several months," and the newborn giraffe will be monitored closely, the statement added.
The baby is other wise healthy and "continues to nurse and bond with his mother," Collins concluded in the latest update.
For those who are anxious to meet the new baby, zoo officials said that guests may still get an opportunity to see the newborn.
Since the baby is already walking, he’ll most likely be following his mom into the outdoor corral within the next few days where guests may be able to catch a glimpse of the not-so-little little one.
Baby giraffes are typically born 6 feet tall and fully grown male giraffe should reach about 18 feet tall, according to the press release.
In the coming days the zoo will be a holding a community naming contest to give Seattle residents a chance to name their zoo’s newest addition.
For all the other giraffe fans that cannot make it to the zoo to see the new baby, the zoo will be putting up a live barn cam. Fans can visit www.zoo.org/giraffe or follow the zoo on social media to find updates on when the live barn cam will be up.
“Baby giraffes have a magical way of touching the hearts and minds of people, no matter how old you are," said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.
"We hope everyone connects again with this new baby and comes to care about saving giraffes in their natural ranges in Africa. We want everyone to care about giraffes as much as we do.”