Omaha Zoo Introduces 'Amazing' New Baby Giraffe: 'It's Exciting for Us'
Spotted: A new baby giraffe.
On Saturday, Betty Francis, a 10-year-old giraffe living at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, gave birth to a new calf, welcoming the zoo's first baby giraffe since April 2019, KETV reports.
The newborn, who is male and already six feet tall and about 140 pounds, stretched his long legs and stood up on his own for the very first time about an hour after he was born. While his father, Jawari, has already had five calves, the baby marks Betty Francis' first.
Zoo director Dennis Pate, who spoke with KETV just three days after the baby giraffe was born, praised Betty Francis' new mom skills.
"It's kind of exciting for us. She's a first-time mom, and we always worry a little bit more about whether she's going to display all the right maternal behavior," he said. "She has been a great mom ever since the get-go. Right after it was born, she started cleaning it off, just very attentive."
Pate added that while the baby is still very young, he's already very independent and full of energy. Next up, he'll be introduced to all of the herd members, one by one.
"They are amazing in how fast they're up and about and running around," he said, adding of the calf, "He's already pretty mobile."
While he doesn't yet have a name, the highest bidder at the zoo's Sept. 10 Zoofari fundraiser will have the honor of picking one out for the newborn.
Pate explained that this particular species of giraffe, the reticulated giraffe, is endangered in the wild, adding that there are fewer than 120,000 giraffes in the wild — which is about a quarter the number of elephants in the wild — and just 16,000 of those animals are reticulated giraffes.
"Their population has decreased by half in the last 30 years, so a lot of cause for concern," he said, before noting, "Every new birth gives us a little bit more hope here."
The newborn calf marks the tenth to be born at the Henry Doorly Zoo and the fourth in the zoo's current giraffe barn. The public can now catch a glimpse of the baby, whose home is currently open to view.