Giraffe pair fills tall order


giraffe pairSecond calf in two years born at Detroit Zoo


The Detroit Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a female reticulated giraffe born at 8:21 p.m. on August 6 to 7-year-old Kivuli following a 14-month gestation.  The father is 8-year-old Jabari.  This is the pair’s second offspring in two years; 1-year-old male Mpenzi was born at the Zoo on September 30, 2014.

The yet-to-be-named calf – born outdoors at the giraffe habitat – took her first steps within a half hour of her birth and nursed throughout the night, according to animal care staff who witnessed the birth and have monitored mom and baby around the clock.

“This is a wonderful new addition to the Detroit Zoo.  The calf is doing great – she has been spending time with mom and is curious about big brother Mpenzi,” said Scott Carter, Detroit Zoological Society chief life sciences officer.

The calf weighs 166 pounds and stands more than 5 feet tall.  The giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) – tallest of all land mammals ­– can reach heights of up to 18 feet and weigh up to 2,600 pounds.

Giraffes give birth while standing and the newborn falls more than 5 feet, enough to break the umbilical cord.

Giraffe numbers have plummeted in the wild over the last 15 years, down by more than 40 percent from approximately 140,000 to less than 80,000 individuals.

“There is growing conservation concern with wild giraffe populations due to poaching, loss of habitat, and the effects of war and civil unrest across Africa.  The Detroit Zoo’s newest giraffe is truly an ambassador for her cousins in the wild,” said Carter.

The Detroit Zoological Society – a nonprofit organization that operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo – is recognized as a leader in conservation, animal welfare and sustainability as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue.  With an annual regionaleconomic impact of more than $100 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.4 million visitors annually.  Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 255 species.  In recognition of its environmental leadership, the Detroit Zoo received the top Green Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, and was named Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s Detroit Business.  The Belle Isle Nature Zoo sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit and provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community.  For hours, prices, directions and other information, call 248-541-5717 or visit

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