After 465 Days of Pregnancy, Giraffe at Illinois Zoo Gives Birth to Baby Girl
The mama giraffe, Vivian, gave birth to 5-ft., 10-in., 122-lb. baby girl at 2:38 a.m. on Jan. 7
Can you imagine a baby who stands 5-ft., 10-in. tall and weighs 122 lbs.? The staff at the Peoria Zoo in Illinois can. They’re celebrating the arrival of the zoo’s latest newborn, a baby girl giraffe, whose mother delivered at 2:38 a.m. on Jan.7, according to the zoo’s Facebook post. A press release from the zoo says both mother and baby are doing well.
This is the second child for Vivian the giraffe, who brought a baby boy into the world in July 2016. Vivian and her mate, Taji, also had a baby in February of 2015, but that one died three hours after birth upon showing signs of neurological distress.
The healthy birth of this second giraffe baby brings the zoo’s total giraffe population to five. The as-yet-unnamed baby’s older brother is called Finely. The Peoria Journal Star reports that the zoo’s director, Yvonne Strode, says the zoo plans to enlist the community’s involvement in naming the baby, and staff members are currently deciding whether that will be through a contest, poll or another method. Below, check out a video of pregnant Vivian gestating her baby in late November.
Vivian’s gestation period was 465 days; compare that to April the Giraffe’s infamous birth-watch and the typical species gestation period of 400 to 465 days, and you’ll soon realize that this Peoria Zoo mom was likely quietly awaiting her bundle of joy for an even longer time than the Animal Adventure Park viral celebrity mom.
That said, when it comes to giraffe births, one of the most important factors is — as the offspring of the world’s tallest land mammal — the baby needs to be big enough to brace for a long fall since mom gives birth standing up. While we wait for a live cam from the zoo, here’s a video of Vivian’s last birth in 2016:
“We are so pleased for Vivian. It is always wonderful to welcome new additions to our zoo family and we look forward to introducing the baby to the community,” says Strode in the zoo’s release to the media. “Because of the weather and the need for mom and daughter to have some time to grow and heal, we anticipate that it will be at least several weeks before they’ll be ready for visitors, so we will share plenty of pictures on our website and Facebook page.”
On Monday, the zoo posted an update on mom and baby to Facebook.
“Giraffe Baby Update, Day 1: Zoo staff is very pleased with the baby giraffe’s progress, it is truly amazing how far she has come in one day. She went from being barely able to stand, to skipping back and forth to mom … the baby spent a lot of time curled up sleeping last night. Vivian, who normally spends a lot of time laying down overnight, simply stood close to her calf all night last night.”
Giraffe fans who want to be part of the celebration can send gifts via the zoo’s registry. Toy feeders, balls and other helpful items are available for donation now.