The Toronto Zoo's giraffe Mstari is expecting her first calf and is 5 months through her 15 month pregnancy

By Kelli Bender
June 21, 2019 04:46 PM
Credit: Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is getting into the viral pregnancy announcement game.

On Friday, World Giraffe Day, the Canadian zoo announced that their female Masai giraffe Mstari is expecting her first calf. To spread the news, the Toronto Zoo posted a sweet announcement on their Facebook page.

“Coming Spring 2020” reads the Facebook announcement, which features a photo of a set of yellow baby booties knitted for a giraffe’s hooves sandwiched between two sets of real giraffe feet — presumably hooves belonging to Mstari and her mate Kiko. This will be the first calf for both parents.

According to the zoo, Mstari is five months into her 15-month-long pregnancy.

“Based on her conception date of January 18, 2019, the calf is expected arrive in mid-April 2020. However, giraffe pregnancies can range from 400-488 days in length, so there is considerable difficulty in pinpointing a due date,” the zoo wrote in a statement.

The zoo is preparing for a “higher risk pregnancy,” since this is will Mstari’s first calf, and is working to baby-proof the giraffe habitat, so Mstari and her highly-anticipated baby are comfortable and safe throughout the pregnancy and the first months of the calf’s life.

The International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) elevated the conservation status of Masai giraffes to Endangered in December 2018, so this happy World Giraffe Day news couldn’t come at a better time.

“This pregnancy is an important contribution to a genetically healthy Masai giraffe population,” Eric Cole, acting director of wildlife and welfare at the zoo, said. “Masai giraffes are under increasing pressure due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. It is important to educate the public on their plight in the wild and do everything we can to prevent the threats they face and halt declining populations.”

ICUN estimates that there are fewer than 35,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild.