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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's a Girl!

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

As you all have been patiently waiting, we’d like to give you a little update on our newest arrival.

It’s a girl!

Hello, beautiful! Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
 A beautiful, 5’9”, 149 lbs. bundle of joy. She is already bonding with mom and curious about all of the keepers and animal health staff who have been visiting her barn.


The sweet new calf is dry, meaning her soft fur is now clean and dry from the birth. 
Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
After a 4:03 a.m. birth on June 20, 2017, our sweet mama Tufani began nursing her baby in the late afternoon. Nursing is a huge milestone for any new mother, but especially for Tufani who is a first time mom. Nursing is incredibly important for the health of the baby, and another sign that mom and baby are bonding. 

In other good news, the calf received good scores on her first neonatal exam with our dedicated animal health team. Dr. Darin Collins describes the baby as being healthy and her overall body condition is good. The calf has to learn how to nurse, but so does Tufani. Mom had to first work through the new routine, but she seems to have it down. Each time the calf latches on to nurse, Tufani becomes more and more comfortable with the new sensation. As nursing begins, hormones are an important part of facilitating the bonding process between mom and calf.

The team of animal health staff carefully and gently performed a full physical exam which included the blood sample that showed nursing was successful. The blood sample assures vet staff that the mother is producing milk and the calf is suckling and receiving milk. The team also weighed and measured the baby and double checked all normal anatomy, listened to the heart and lungs, took her temperature and vitals and gave the calf her initial neonatal vaccines. For now, that is all the new calf needs as she will receive nutrition and important antibodies from nursing. 

For the calf, nursing is a natural instinct. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.

Katie Ahl, giraffe keeper, has been dubbed the “giraffe doula” up until Tufani gave birth and she gives us a little update on how mom is faring. Katie says Tufani has been calm and patient, and is busy keeping the calf clean and nursing her. While the new mom’s appetite changes hourly, Tufani is still most interested in browse, especially the willow and maple keepers have been giving her. “Leaf eater biscuits are still high on the list though,” says Katie. 

“All the giraffe in our herd are curious about the new arrival,” she explains. There has been a lot of activity in the barn the last few hours, so in addition to the addition, they are all interested in why there are so many keepers around.”  As for the giraffe keepers, Katie says, “It’s a healthy mix of excitement and exhaustion!”

Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at the zoo, is very proud of this dedicated team of keepers. “We’re very fortunate to have  a team of dedicated  animal care staff  who pulled  together to ensure that Tufani did well in the weeks leading up to the birth and that she had a safe and uneventful birthing process.”  


Video: Baby Giraffe Learns to Stand, https://youtu.be/iIJ69tzEfM8

Now that we’ve determined the sex of the baby, we can announce the winning guess from the zoo’s giraffe birth pool contest. Nearly 3,000 guesses were submitted which asked participants to accurately guess the birth date and sex of the baby giraffe. The zoo received 61 correct guesses “6.20, female” and after a randomized selection was made, the winner is Stephanie Rhea of Waterville, WA.! Stephanie says she picked the date because that happens to be her birthday too. She will enjoy a special meet and greet with the baby and her keepers later this summer. Congratulations!

Just a few hours after being born. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
 “The new calf and mom are off view in the barn to allow a quiet environment for maternal bonding and nursing, but in a week or two the calf might follow mom to the outdoor area of the barn where visitors will be able to catch glimpses of them,” says Ramirez. “It will be a minimum of a few months before the calf is introduced to the African Savanna.”

Following the critical 72-hour window after birth, the zoo’s giraffe cam will go live, giving the public the opportunity to see Tufani and her baby as they bond in the barn. Viewers can access the giraffe cam once it goes live and see updates by visiting zoo.org/tallestbaby and following #tallestbaby on the zoo’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Keepers tell us that when the calf naps, Tufani gets really quiet, stands over her watchfully and is very still. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
In honor of our #tallestbaby, let's all promise to stand up for giraffe on #worldgiraffeday June 21, 2017.

Widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa, new population surveys estimate an overall 36 to 40 percent decline in the giraffe population, from approximately 151,702 to 163,452 in 1985, to 97,562 in 2015. Of the currently recognized subspecies of giraffe, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable.

Giraffe fans can help support conservation efforts by visiting Woodland Park Zoo and supporting Wildlife Survival Fund projects, including the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, which seeks to provide the first long-term ecological monitoring effort of the Angolan giraffe—an important desert-dwelling giraffe subspecies in north-western Namibia. Visit http://www.zoo.org/conservation to learn more about the zoo’s conservation partnerships taking place in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. 

The baby is tall at 5'9", but Tufani gives us some perspective on giraffe height!
Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.

14 comments:

  1. What a Beautiful Baby Girl!

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  2. She's adorable! It sounds like Tufani is an excellent mommy, especially considering it's her first time. We look forward to seeing her when she's allowed outdoors. We were there last month and had some good close up time with daddy Dave.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your tallest calf birth and standing .

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  4. She is a beautiful girl. Thank you for sharing her with us via cam.

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  5. She's a Princess!

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  6. Cute. Can't wait to see her at the zoo later this summer.

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  7. Loving our new baby!!! Thanks for all the updates and video... keep posting!

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  8. Where is this zoo?

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  9. It says she is an endangered giraffe. Which "kind" of giraffe is she?

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    1. I was told Tufani and her sister Olivia are Rothschild giraffes, while daddy Dave is articulated.

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    2. Tufani is a Rothschild's giraffe and Dave is reticulated. The baby is what is known as a common giraffe.

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  10. What is her name??

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