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Welcome Little One: Olivia's Giraffe Calf Born May 2

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo has a new baby giraffe! Olivia, 12 years old, gave birth today on May 2 at 4:56 a.m. The baby giraffe is a boy!

Olivia with her newborn at just a few hours old on May 2, 2019.
Mom and calf are off view in the giraffe barn to allow a cozy, quiet environment for maternal bonding and nursing.

“The baby was on his feet within an hour after he was born, which is what we want to see,” says Katie Ahl, a lead keeper at Woodland Park Zoo. “The first 24 to 72 hours are critical for newborn giraffes. A healthy infant should begin nursing shortly after birth and be able to run around with its mom several hours later. Olivia is an experienced mother and she’s showing good maternal behavior for her second baby.”

While the baby is standing and nursing, he’s not walking normally on his rear legs, notes Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo. “This condition could resolve itself as the baby gains more strength and walks around more. We’ll keep a close eye on it and, if necessary, take measures, such as wrapping it, to ensure the legs are stabilized.”

Hello, little one!
Giraffes have a gestation period of 14 to 15 months. The tall animals give birth standing up and the calf drops 5 feet to the ground as it is born. Baby giraffes are typically born at 6 feet tall and stand within an hour after birth. When fully grown, giraffes reach a height of 16 feet tall for females and 18 feet tall for males.

The baby giraffe marks the first offspring between Olivia and the father, 6-year-old Dave. Olivia had her first baby in 2013 at Woodland Park Zoo with a different mate.

The last giraffe birth at the zoo was a female, Lulu, born in 2017 to mom Tufani—Olivia’s younger sister—and dad Dave. In addition to the baby, Olivia, Dave and Tufani make up the current herd of giraffes at the zoo.

In the following days, the zoo will launch a community naming contest and a live barn cam. Giraffe fans will have an exciting opportunity to see Olivia and her baby as they bond in the barn and to watch the baby grow. Viewers can access the barn cam once it goes live and see updates by visiting and following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on the new arrival.

“We’re so excited to share another baby giraffe with our guests and community,” says Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “Baby giraffes have a magical way of touching the hearts and minds of people, no matter how old you are. 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.”

His giraffe calf neck rolls might be the sweetest thing we've ever seen.
According to Ahl, the baby giraffe is expected to follow mom in the next several days to the outdoor corral where guests can see him with mom. “Viewing will be sporadic since the family can choose to spend time in the off-view barn too. It should be a few months before we begin introducing the baby to the African Savanna habitat,” says Ahl.

The expectant parents, Olivia and Dave, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of giraffes.

Your zoo participates in 111 Species Survival Plans, overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Led by experts in husbandry, nutrition, veterinary care, behavior, and genetics, these plans also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects.

Every visit to the zoo supports conservation of giraffe and other species around the world and here in your backyard.
Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New population surveys estimate an overall 40 percent decline in the giraffe population; fewer than 100,000 exist today. Of the currently recognized subspecies of giraffe, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable.

You can stick your neck out for giraffes and help support conservation efforts by visiting Woodland Park Zoo and supporting the Wildlife Survival Program, which includes the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The Foundation 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 to learn more about the zoo’s conservation partnerships taking place in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.

You can also adopt a giraffe ZooParent in honor of the new calf at 


Caryn said…
He sure is CUTE! Thank you for sharing...
Unknown said…
He is adorable. Can't wait til he gets a name.
Peggy said…
so ADORABLE!!!! Snuggle that neck. and his face!!!! So fresh and new.

Anonymous said…